Right now, 2.5 billion people, or over 30% of the world's population, do not have access to a basic sanitary toilet. As a result, the second leading cause of death worldwide in children under the age 5 is Diarrhea. In fact, death caused by diarrhea is so severe, that 4,000 children die from the disease every single day, In her TedTalk, Rose George emphasizes the importance of "talking shit" in order to spread awareness about the worldwide diarrhea epidemic.
In India, 76 million people lack access to sanitary water. This lack of access to sanitary water cost the country $53.8 billion in 2006; with diarrhea's cost summing over $25 billion. This is equivalent to 6.4% of India's GDP.
To solve this crisis, entrepreneurs at a local business called Sarvajal have started to install clean water ATMs in Delhi, the capital territory in India. These ATMs were partially funded by the local government and allow citizens to purchase water that has been filtered via reverse osmosis at a discounted and affordable rate. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has started the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. Currently, 16 researchers are collaborating to produce sustainable toilets that function off the grid at a minimal cost per flush.
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