The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is looking to reinvent the classic commode. Two and a half billion people in the world — about 40% of the population — don’t have access to a safe and sanitary way to dispose of their waste. The Gates Foundation realized that handing out water-guzzling porcelain bowls is probably not the answer, so they’ve partnered with the German government to support scientists that are working on the problem. The foundation envisions a water-free device that separates excrement from urine in order to dry them separately.
Lack of sanitation in developing countries is one of the main reasons for the spread of disease. In addition to solving the toilet conundrum the Gates Foundation has decided to tackle the problem of unsafe drinking water. UNICEF estimates that 1.2 million children die each year from diarrhea caused by unclean drinking water. The Gates Foundation believes that tackling these two problems will drastically reduce the spread of deadly diseases worldwide.
Along with the research they will fund on the water-less latrine the Gates Foundation is looking to fund scientific research on what to do with human waste once it has dried. They are looking into the possiblity of cleaning urine to provide potable water and using the dried waste as a powdered nitrous fertilizer, so we very well may see another revolutionary poop project in the near future. In their partnership with the German government on this project, the Gates Foundation is looking to provide 800,000 people in Kenya with proper sanitation facilities and another 200,000 with drinkable water.