Here’s an unexpected combination: Bill Gates and toilets. Today, on Engineering Works!
Toilets are pretty basic things. Most of us take them for granted, unless you can’t find one when you need it. Bill Gates thinks toilets are pretty important, and when you have your own foundation – as he does – you can do something about it.
What makes toilets important to Gates is that about two-and-a-half-billion, with a B, people around the world don’t have them. When you don’t have a toilet, what should go into the toilet can end up in bad places. Places that can make the water you drink and the food you eat downright dangerous. And it – is – dangerous.
About one-and-a-half-million children around the world die each year from diarrheal diseases. Diseases caused mostly by unsanitary conditions. So Gates is putting his foundation’s money where his mouth is. Offering money to people who design and build new kinds of toilets that will work in undeveloped areas of the world.
It’s more complicated than it sounds. The new toilets have to work without running water, electricity or a septic system. They can’t discharge pollutants, and it can’t cost more than five-cents a day to run one. Extra points if the toilet captures energy or other resources.
Lots of people have taken Gates up on his challenge, and several have gotten seed money to see how well their ideas work.
We’re glad our toilet doesn’t need to be re-invented. See you next time.
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Start the discussion: Sometimes things we take for granted can cause a lot of trouble when folks don’t have them. Toilets are pretty obvious if you stop to think about it. What other everyday things cause problems when people don’t have them? Let us know.
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