The Next Grand Challenge in India: Reinvent the Toilet

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundationissued the following news release:

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under theMinistry of Science and Technology of the Government ofIndia and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with India’sBiotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) launched a call for proposals as part of Grand Challenges India to reinvent the toilet. The Department of Biotechnology and theGates 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 theDepartment of Biotechnology. “Central and state governments, alongside NGO partners, have been addressing these issues but new technologies can, perhaps, bring new dimensions to result in scalable solutions for India. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, BIRAC and the DBT are partners in this adventure to reinvent the toilet and are fully committed seeking out the best in science and technology for creating a hygienic, clean and safe environment in India.”

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.

Source: Hispanic Business (link opens in a new window)

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