The quest to build a new toilet is an attempt to develop new technologies to address an old social problem
In the same week that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi said that toilets are more important than temples, a small advertisement appeared in some Indian newspapers. It announced a competition to reinvent the toilet. This contest has been launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with the Indian government, and seeks new ideas on how to build a new toilet for the new century—one that kills pathogens, is affordable and that people actually want to use. The Indian challenge comes two years after a similar global challenge. A blog posted on the foundation website explains that it seeks “funding research to develop waterless, hygienic toilets that do not require a sewer connection or electricity and cost less than five cents per user per day".
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