Bill Gates, who has been working with shit for years now, is branching out and wants to reinvent the terlet.
Actually, I jest, because really, the jokes just write themselves on this one. It is, however, a fantastic idea and goal. Gates and his wife Melinda are well known philanthropists. They are launching a project that will provide 800,000 people in Kenya with access to sanitation facilities and ensure clean drinking water for 200,000, aiming to provide “innovative solutions” to sanitation in poor, urban areas who otherwise don’t have the resources. 1.1 billion people worldwide don’t have access to any kind of toilet or ways of eliminating waste, estimates UNICEF.
It’s a rather urgent matter, too (no pun intended). Without proper sanitation and waste removal, the spread of disease (and ultimately, in some cases, death) is exponentially high. According to UNICEF, at least 1.2 million children under the age of 5 die of diarrhea every year; the main cause is contact with human feces.
From the Time interview with Gates:
[Dutch engineer Frank Rijsberman] heads the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene department at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and he is presently working on two projects. With one project, the foundation supports the construction of pit latrines in rural areas and slums without sanitation facilities. With the other, it supports research projects, giving grants to scientists who come up with new ideas for using human excrement. He says there have been experiments to turn excrement into a kind of microwave that can be used as a source of energy.
This is an important mission for Gates, who has met with world leaders, not to talk politics, but to talk toilets. In other words, he’s not just “shooting the poop.” (PUN!)
I cannot resist the puns.
No, really. It’s an awesome project that will help world poverty in a number of ways. Golf claps to you, Gates.
Not wanting to be outdone, Apple is scheduled to release the iPoop in 2013.