A radical new toilet design has been unveiled at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing overnight developed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that is claimed to potentially save millions of lives from preventable diseases resulting from poor sanitation. Eliminating the spread of pathogens and converting waste into non-harmful by-products without the need to be connected to a sewer system is an incredibly exciting prospect, and has the potential to save countless lives.
Furthermore, the unveiling of the new design coincided with the release of a brand-new ISO standard: ISO 30500:2018. The standard is dedicated to non-sewered sanitation systems, prefabricated integrated treatment units, and general safety and performance requirements for the design and testing of these systems. The new ISO 30500:2018 standard has the potential to save millions of lives from disease, particularly in developing nations on the Asian and African continents.
Speaking at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing, ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica said: “International Standards are key to the progression of new sanitation technology and developing an industry that saves lives.” Mujica was speaking on a panel that included President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim, and billionaire entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist and Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates.
The Reinvented Toilet Expo summit in Beijing was a three-day summit that discussed commitments to improving the condition of non-sewered sanitation, as well as the actions required to develop the industry; key of which is is standardization. Attended by government officials, development banks, private-sector leaders and philanthropists alike, the Summit is aiming to accelerate the adoption of innovative developments in the field of sanitation technologies in developing nations.
In a press release, ISO says that: “These technologies are at the forefront of a growing movement to improve sanitation for the world’s poorest and contributes toward global water and sanitation targets outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.
The new toilet technology focusses on improving the state of non-sewered toilets, implementing new technologies to curb the impact of water-borne diseases that can spread from poor sanitation conditions.
Keynote speaker, Bill Gates said: “This expo showcases, for the first time, radically new and pilot-testing approaches to sanitation that will provide effective alternatives for collecting, managing and treating human waste. The technologies you’ll see here are the most significant advances in sanitation in nearly two-hundred years.”
Mr Gates also made reference to China’s ‘toilet revolution’ in implementing standardization: “We look forward to China adopting high-level standards (ISO 30500) for the non-sewered sanitation industry, which will further accelerate its leadership of a new commercial sanitation sector.”
In the description of the new ISO 30500:2018, ISO states that “it is estimated that 2.3-billion people do not have access to basic sanitation systems. The devastating consequences of the lack of sanitation facilities include an estimated 1.8-billion people globally using a source of drinking water that is faecally-contaminated… 361,000 children under five-years of age die[sic] per year, primarily from dysentery-like diarrhoeal diseases.”
They continue: “In this context, the purpose of this document (ISO 30500) is to support the development of stand-alone sanitation systems designed to address basic sanitation needs and promote economic, social and environmental sustainability through strategies that include minimizing resource consumption.”
The addition of ISO 30500 is an exciting endeavour to improve the living conditions for billions of people living in extreme poverty that are tragically dying from reasonably preventable diseases. We look forward to hearing – and sharing – more about this exciting new standard, and the technology it inspired in the near future.