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BEIJING (August 22, 2013) — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced the launch of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge – China. The foundation will invest US$5 million to support Chinese investigators to drive research, development, and production of the “next generation toilet.”
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 China toilet challenge is the first effort targeted to a specific country and is a testament to the research and development capabilities in China. A launch event in Beijing was co-hosted by the Gates Foundation, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and the University of Science and Technology Beijing, in cooperation with China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development.
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 proper sanitation, along with safe drinking water and improved hygiene.
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.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.