Bill Gates' 'environment-friendly' toilets could come to India next

A USD 5-million project to develop environment friendly toilets in China, which is being funded by Bill Gates, is expected to be replicated in India.

Beijing:A USD 5-million project to developenvironment friendly toilets in China, which is being fundedby Bill Gates, is expected to be replicated in India.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will allocate grantsto Chinese applicants to re-engineer the common toilet to bemore environment friendly and cost-effective.India might be the next country to see a similar project,said Doulaye Kone, senior programme officer of water,sanitation and hygiene with the Foundation.

Bill Gates. AFP image

Bill Gates. AFP image

Each Chinese researcher would receive between USD 1 lakhto USD 5 lakhs for the accepted toilet designs, said Prof LiZifu of University of Science & Technology Beijing, which hasbeen entrusted to implement the project.

Kone said, "China is the first country we have launchedsuch an independent grant, and we hope this will improveaccess among Chinese inventors to the project."

Previously, the Foundation launched a global campaign inJuly 2011 to prompt innovation of a more sustainable toilet,state-run China Daily reported.

The California Institute of Technology in the US receivedUSD 1 lakh first prize for a solar-powered design, which couldtransform waste into hydrogen gas and electricity.Few applications from China were received in 2011 probablydue to language barriers, according to Kone, who added thatcultural backgrounds and needs should be considered forpractical designs.

"The China project is expected to produce designs whichbetter meet demands in China and other developing countriesacross the world," he said.According to the WHO, 2.5 billion people worldwide don'thave access to toilets, resulting in 1.5 million deaths amongchildren under the age of 5 each year due to sanitationproblems.

Meanwhile, in industrial countries, toilets use 20 to 40percent of total water consumption.In China, toilet innovation has two major goals -sustainability and affordability, said Li.

Zero water and electricity consumption, a daily cost belowfive cents per person, no smell, and comfort are alsofavoured, Kone added."We should look at human waste as a source of fertiliseror minerals and recycle it," Li said. Besides, designs areexpected to be functional and reasonably priced, even withouta local sewage system, Li said.


Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.