We all know Bill Gates as the guy who broke the rules of getting rich by accumulating a fortune of more than 100 billion dollars thanks to his success in Microsoft. But he and his wife ventured towards saving the world and founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the year 2000. They have fully equal say in the decision-making process, different from Microsoft. Today, the foundation has more than 50 billion dollars in the budget, and it is growing every day.
Gates Foundation focuses on many world problems at once. They are eliminating polio. They started a campaign to vaccinate every child born in Africa. Problems arose from terrorist groups in Africa, forbidding the foundation from entering their territory and even killing some of the people working for the foundation. Therefore, the foundation couldn’t reach its goal of eliminating it yet, but they aren’t giving up. There were only 33 reported polio cases worldwide in 2018, decreasing drastically from 350,000 in 1988.
The foundation also focuses on a topic that doesn’t cross ordinary people’s minds when they talk about world issues; toilet. In 2011, they started working towards the 2.5 billion people who don’t have access to safe sanitation. They aim towards inventing a bathroom that is low in cost, operates without any water, sewer, or electrical line connection, desirable to be used in developed countries as well, removes germs from human waste and recover water and energy.
The actual effects of lacking safe sanitation are astonishing and very scary. It is effortless to get diarrhea from an unclean environment, and diarrhea causes 1.8 million deaths per year consistently throughout the world. According to the CDC, diarrhea causes 2195 child deaths every day, and 1 in 9 child death is caused by diarrhea even though it is a preventable problem with enough funding. To encourage and urge scientists to work on this issue, the foundation awarded a grant to 16 research groups from various universities. To compare the results, they have hosted “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” with a prize of 7 million dollars. One of the projects even produced drinkable water, and Bill Gates has poured and drank from it.
In my opinion, the essential innovation from them is TerraPower. It is a nuclear reactor design company founded by Bill Gates in 2006. After they started seeking atomic energy, troubles came with it. Because of the potential environmental catastrophes that could go with it, public opinion on nuclear power is not envied. After the Fukushima disaster, TerraPower came up with a design immune to environmental catastrophes. But, the most exciting feature of their reactor is its fuel. TerraPower found a way to use depleted uranium from other nuclear reactors to fuel their design. According to their data, the US currently hosts 700,000 metric tons of depleted uranium, and only eight metric tons of it could power 2.5 million homes for a year. Sadly, to achieve that, they have to start building prototypes around the globe. Even though they made a deal with China to build a prototype there, the project had to be abandoned due to the trade limitations implemented by the Trump administration in January 2019.