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La revolución del retrete

COPENHAGUE – Los políticos y filántropos suelen hablar de ideas abstractas y elevadas, como la sostenibilidad y la transformación a través del diálogo. Así que debemos aplaudir a Bill Gates y al primer ministro indio Narendra Modi por ocuparse de un tema mucho más mundano, pero fundamental: los retretes.

La Fundación Bill & Melinda Gates desea transformar la propia tecnología de los retretes para que no dependan de grandes infraestructuras, como sistemas cloacales y plantas de tratamiento de agua. En 2011, la Fundación Gates lanzó su Desafío para la reinvención del retrete, que otorga subsidios a investigadores que "estén usando enfoques innovadores —basados en procesos de ingeniería fundamentales— para la gestión segura y sostenible de los excrementos humanos". Se espera que los baños del siglo XXI conviertan los excrementos humanos en energía, fertilizantes e incluso agua potable.

Por su parte, Modi ha declarado que es más importante construir baños que templos y lanzó una campaña para poner fin a la defecación al aire libre en la India para 2019, que coincida con el 150.° aniversario del nacimiento del líder de la independencia de la India, Mahatma Gandhi. Para lograrlo, el gobierno de Modi está construyendo rápidamente instalaciones sanitarias básicas e instalando millones de retretes en todo el país, que incluyen al menos uno en cada escuela.

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