This week, we begin a new feature: the day’s most interesting and important story on nonprofits from the world’s media. For a full survey of media coverage of topics relating to nonprofits, philanthropy, volunteering, and civil society, go to the Hauser Center’s news blog, Nonprofit News & Comment.
Today’s story focuses on the Gates Foundation’s initiative intended to spur the development of green systems of sanitary waste disposal.
“New toilet technology after 150 years of waste.” By Donna Gordon Blankinship. USA Today/Associated Press. August 15, 2012.
These aren’t your typical loos. One uses microwave energy to transform human waste into electricity. Another captures urine and uses it for flushing. And still another turns excrement into charcoal.
They are part of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation competition to reinvent the toilet for the 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have access to modern sanitation.
Scientists from around the world have taken up the challenge, and the foundation announced some projects Tuesday that will be getting more money to take their ideas from the lab to cities.
To pass the foundation’s threshold for the world’s next toilet, it must operate without running water, electricity or a septic system, not discharge pollutants, preferably capture energy or other resources, and operate at a cost of 5 cents a day.
The United Nations estimates disease caused by unsafe sanitation results in about half the hospitalizations in the developing world. About 1.5 million children die each year from diarrheal disease.