Microsoft founder Bill gates has reportedly used human excrement as a prop during a speech on sanitation (toilet) technology. He brandished a jar of human excrement during a speech in China this week, making a plea for safe disposal of human waste.

The billionaire businessman placed the jar on a pedestal next to him during a speech at the ‘Reinvented Toilet’ expo in China.

He started by drawing attention to what was inside the jar and called it human faeces. He said that small amount of faeces could contain 200 trillion rotavirus cells, 20 billion shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs.

Gates said he brought it out to draw attention to an issue that kills more than 500,000 people every year. And that is poor sanitation.

Global sanitation problem costs an estimated $223 billion every year. He went to say that the situation will get worse if nothing is done about it.

According to Gates, “There is much more than one jar’s worth in the environment and these pathogens cause diseases like diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid that kills nearly 500,000 children under the age of five annually.

For the last seven years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has invested over $200 million to create a pathogen killing toilet that can break down human waste and destroy germs. The new toilets leave behind clean water and solids that can be used as fertilizer, or that can disposed of outdoors without treatment needs

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The toilets can operate off grid, without piped-in water, or sewer connection or outside electricity. Further, it is able to work for less than $0.5 per day. Some of the current prototypes are solar powered and others can even generate their own energy mechanically.

During the event, over 20 companies were up for the idea by buying into the concept. They signed up to the sanitation project. These companies include Clear, co-San, SCG Chemicals, and Eram Scientific Solutions.

Gates even went on to taste from the water made from faeces and said something like ‘he would happily drink it every day.’ He has also invested in a small-scale treatment plant which is able to process waste from pit latrines, septic tanks and sewers.

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