Monday, April 8, 2013

Memo to Bill Gates: Fix your own sanitation problem

It will take more than a solar-powered toilet to fix this mess.

Trash tycoon Bill Gates is fixated on improving sanitation by creating a better toilet. Cleaning up the burning, exploding, radioactive landfills he owns -- well, not so much.

Gates owns about a quarter of Republic Services/Allied Waste, by far the waste company's largest shareholder. He also runs a foundation that awarded $100,000 to the inventor of a solar-powered toilet. CNN reported:
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates thinks one of the answers to improving health is in the bathroom. 
A year ago, his foundation issued a challenge to universities to create a new toilet, launching a worldwide effort to improve sanitation. 
This week the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced who won the challenge. 
California Institute of Technology was the big winner and was awarded $100,000 for its idea of a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity. 
CBS St. Louis report suggests Gates should be paying attention to the sanitation problems created by his own company. Republic came in 46th out of 50 waste management companies ranked for their environmental record. Here's a litany of problems over the past 6 years:
  • California fined Republic $725,000 for hazardous waste leaking from a landfill into San Francisco Bay. 
  • Republic paid $1 million in fines and up to $36 million to remediate violations of the Clean Water Act at a landfill in Clark County, Nev.
  • Republic was fined $10 million after a burning landfill created a stench in Ohio. 
  • Republic paid a $650,000 fine for a fetid landfill in Findlay Township, Pa.
  • Republic and Maricopa County, Ariz., paid a $1.5 million fine for failing to report on the quality of air near a landfill. 
  • A court ordered Republic to pay $2.3 million in damages to six neighbors of a stinking Republic landfill in Lee County, S.C.
And now Missouri's attorney general is suing Republic for the stinking, burning, exploding, radioactive Bridgeton Landfill near St. Louis.

Got a contest for fixing those problems, Bill?