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Nov 18th 2017
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Home Lifestyle Wellness Reinventing the toilet

Reinventing the toilet

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Innovation in toiletsIndian Ministry of Science and Technology and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to invest US$2 million to support projects to develop a next generation toilet.

New Delhi. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Government of India and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with India's Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) recently launched a call for proposals as part of Grand Challenges India to reinvent the toilet. The Department of Biotechnology and the Gates Foundation will each invest US$1 million to support Indian investigators to drive research, development, and production of the “next generation toilet.”

Today, 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to safe sanitation, causing serious health problems, and in some cases, death. Food and water tainted with fecal matter result in 1.5 million child deaths every year. Most of these deaths could be prevented with the introduction of improved sanitation, along with safe drinking water and increased hygiene.

“Open defecation and poor sanitation are India’s shame,” said Dr. K VijayRaghavan, secretary of the the Department of Biotechnology.

In 2011, the Gates Foundation launched the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge – a program created to design toilets that capture and process human waste without piped water, sewer or electrical connections, and transform waste into useful resources, such as energy and water, at an affordable price. This India toilet challenge is the second effort targeted to a specific country and is a testament to the research and development capabilities in India.

The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge is designed to spur innovation and bring creative thinking to solve the problem of dealing human waste. To date, the Gates Foundation has funded 16 research institutions across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.

"We continue to push for a regular stream of fresh ideas to help overcome persistent health and development challenges,” said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery & Translational Sciences at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

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