Why Did Bill Gates Give A Talk With A Jar Of Human Poop By His Side?

It's not every day that one of the world's richest men walks on stage carrying a jar of human feces, but that's precisely what Bill Gates did in Beijing on Tuesday.

The Microsoft founder was in China to talk toilets at the Reinvented Toilet Expo, an event showcasing the latest in high-tech sanitation to entrepreneurs, development banks and government agencies.

Improving the technology behind toilets is one of Gates' self-confessed obsessions. "It's been done this way for centuries. What's been the latest advance in toilets, double-ply toilet paper?" he joked onstage.

Through his foundation, the tech mogul has spent the last seven years applying the same innovative approach that made him a billionaire to improving sanitation, and with good reason.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 4.5 billion people do not have access to toilets where waste is treated and disposed of safely. When human waste is poorly managed, pathogens can seep into the environment, causing diseases like diarrhea, cholera and typhoid…

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Published by NPR’s Global Health blog, Goats and Soda, on 9 November 2018.