NEWARK, Del. — A team at the University of Delaware has created a breathable fabric for open pit latrines that will act as a way to protect nearby groundwater and wells from contamination and protect sanitation workers from exposure to pathogens, according to an article by the University of Delaware's UDaily.

Each year in India, the article noted, waterborne diseases sicken approximately 37.7 million people and one and a half million children die of diarrhea alone.

Open pit latrines are common in the developing world, reported the article, posing a large risk to public health and the environment.

The research was originally funded through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations Fund, the article continued, which has now added $250,000 in additional funding for the team.

According to the release, the University of Delaware research team is led by environmental engineering professor Steve Dentel, and is piloting the membrane technology in Kanpur, India, one the country's largest industrial cities.

Read the full release here.