Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sh*t returns

It's not something we like to talk about but as the Gates Foundation notes:

"About 2.5 billion people use unsafe toilets or defecate in the open.  Poor sanitation causes severe diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million children each year"
The Economist points out that the basic design of the western toilet has remained unchanged for way too long and that this could change where it counts now that Gates is offering a $100k prize for designing "...a toilet that costs less than five cents per user per day to operate, that requires neither a supply of clean water nor sewerage infrastructure to take the waste away, and that will generate energy and recover salts, water and other nutrients."

The beauty of this effort from the Gates Foundation is in the social return, with the article concluding that "the foundation plans to spend up to $80m a year on sanitation, an investment that the World Health Organisation estimates will produce a return of 900% in the form of social and economic benefits from increased productivity and reduced health-care costs."

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