Bill Gates is at it again, but this time it has nothing to do with computers, just toilets.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is investigating other ways to put human waste to good use. Together with the German government, the foundation has invested 10 million dollars to the project. Africa will be the big recipient, in the next five years Kenya is earmarked to receive sanitation facilities for 800 000 people and clean drinking water for 200 000 people.
“The goal is to find ‘innovative solutions’ for sanitation in poor urban areas. Gates says it’s time to move on from the era of the classic toilet. He points out that, despite all the recent achievements, 40 percent of the world’s population, or some 2.5 billion people still live without proper means of flushing away excrement. But just giving them western-style toilets isn’t possible due to the world’s limited water resources.”
Agreeing with Gates, Dutch engineer Frank Rijsberman heads the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene department at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he says there are biological bacteria that could turn waste into compost; he talks about the possibility of toilets actually turning urine into drinking water. Human waste could be a real goldmine, Rijsberman jokes.
The Gates Foundation and German development policy also support various projects for dry toilets that do not use a water to flush and separate excrement from urine in order to dry it. South Africa will also benefit from this, the Gates Foundation in South Africa has proposed using urine of 400,000 people to make nitrogenous fertilizer in powder form.
Gates is lobbying for the end of the traditional western toilet, in April, at a press conference in Berlin he told journalist after a meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff that they did not discuss politic but spoke about the ‘ultimate toilet’.