Thursday, March 04, 2010

Another innovation for the poor

Is it a bag, is it a toilet? No, it's a Peepoo:
"''People will say, 'It's valuable to me, but well priced,' '' he said. He plans to sell it for about two or three cents - comparable to the cost of an ordinary plastic bag. In the developing world, an estimated 2.6 billion people, or about 40 per cent of the earth's population, do not have access to a toilet, according to United Nations figures.

It is a public health crisis: open defecation can contaminate drinking water, and an estimated 1.5 million children worldwide die yearly from diarrhoea, largely because of poor sanitation and hygiene.

To mitigate this, the UN has a goal to reduce by half the number of people without access to toilets by 2015.

The market for low-cost toilets in the developing world is about a trillion dollars, according to Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organisation, a sanitation advocacy group.

As far as toilets go, ''the people in the middle class have reached saturation in consumption,'' said Sim, a fan of the Peepoo. ''This has created a new need of looking for a new customer.''"

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