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08 November 2018, 11:21 | Glen Norman
Bill Gates was drawing attention to a problem affecting developing countries around the world not enough toilets
He showed the audience a jar of human excrement and explained that such a standard amount of feces contains 200 trillion rotaviruses 20 billion bacteria Shigella and 100 000 eggs of parasitic worms.
The billionaire businessman placed the jar on a pedestal next to him during a speech at the "Reinvented Toilet" expo in China.
Mr Gates, who tasted water made from faeces and said "he would happily drink it every day", has also invested in a small-scale treatment plant that processes waste from pit latrines, septic tanks and sewers.
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates wants the world to take notice of a serious issue that affects almost half of the population - sanitation.
Gates noted that the production of these toilets is in its initial phase, and that it will be at least a decade before reinvented toilets reach the masses in the poorest areas. "And I definitely never thought that Melinda would have to tell me to stop talking about toilets and faecal sludge at the dinner table".
Gates was at the three-day event to support Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his "toilet revolution", which has become a priority across the country.
There are multiple designs of the toilet, but all work by separating liquid and solid waste.
According to the World Health Organization, around 2.3 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines.
"So when I talk about components of this toilet being made in China, others in Thailand, others in the USA - you really want to be bringing together all of that IQ so that you're getting that combination". Failure to do so can cause diseases not limited to dysentery and cholera, which kill many thousands of people every year.
He said the foundation's partners had developed a self-powered technology that takes in human waste, kills unsafe pathogens and converts the resulting materials into products with potential commercial value - like clean water, electricity and fertiliser. "As we have all these newer cities with lots of less wealthy people in them, those sewers have not been built and in fact, it's not likely they will ever be, so the question is, could you do it?" The results of human activity will be processed in it yourself.
On his trip, Mr Gates also appeared at the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai, at a time of tension between the United States and China.
The world's two largest economies have been engaged in a tit-for-tat trade war over tariffs for much of the year.
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