If half of the world needs a toilet and the other half needs a better one, what if new innovations could solve our sanitation challenges? Imagine a toilet that can be set up anywhere with no pipes to connect and no need for water—where waste is treated at the source, safely and cleanly.
Nearly 250 years after the invention of the flush toilet, 3.5 billion people—almost half the world’s population—have no choice but to use unsafe toilets and sanitation facilities. For the population that lives above sewers, the infrastructure is aging fast, prone to overflow, and wasteful. And everywhere, our sanitation systems will be tested by climate change.
But the world is poised to take a leap together. With innovations and improved technology, alongside investments from local governments and businesses, we can ensure safe sanitation for all.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation designed this exhibition to share a vision for resilient and sustainable sanitation. It features efforts the foundation has funded to address both the outcomes of inequities in sanitation and their root cause—with a goal of protecting the health and dignity of everyone, no matter where we live.
This exhibition was organized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center, with special thanks to the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene team for their invaluable contributions of support and expertise. Thank you to the Musée de la civilization (Museum of Civilization) for their work as contributors and advisors to the exhibition.
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