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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Garbage at Mount Everest “the top of the world” disgusts mountaineers

TravelGarbage at Mount Everest "the top of the world" disgusts mountaineers

The problem of waste pollution on Mount Everest, the top of the world, is a big environmental concern in recent years with its human waste and overflowing trash.

A traveler, Debbie Banks wrote:  This is the peak of Mount Everest and it is disgusting to see this garbage at 8848 altitude. Isn’t it better to stay in your houses and not go hiking when you have no commitment to the environment?” (sic)

As crowds increase over the years, Mount Everest has grown increasingly polluted. This has led to the contamination of the local watershed, which jeopardizes the health of local people.  With the mixture of a large number of climbers and inadequate waste management practices has resulted in the accumulation of trash and human waste on the mountain. This pollution not only poses risks to the delicate ecosystem of the Sagarmatha National Park but also impacts the local communities that rely on the mountain’s watershed for their water supply.

Efforts have been made by the Nepali government and various organizations to address the problem. The government launched a campaign in 2019 to remove thousands of kilograms of trash from the mountain and implemented a deposit initiative requiring climbers to return with a certain amount of garbage to reclaim their deposit. The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), an NGO run by local Sherpa people, has been actively working to manage waste, ensure climbers have legal permission, and educate visitors about environmental conservation.

One bright project, the Mount Everest Biogas Project, seeks to find a sustainable solution to the sanitation problem by building a solar-powered system that converts human waste into fuel for local communities. This would help control the dumping of fecal matter in local villages, reducing water contamination risks and creating employment opportunities.

While some debate stricter regulations on the number of climbers allowed on Mount Everest, the Nepali government faces a difficult balance. Climbing permits generate substantial revenue for the local economy, which heavily relies on tourism. However, it is important to find a sustainable approach that prioritizes environmental protection and the well-being of the local communities.

The restoration of Mount Everest’s pristine environment will require collaborative efforts from climbers, the Nepali government, NGOs like the SPCC, and other relevant stakeholders. By raising awareness, implementing effective waste management strategies, and promoting responsible tourism, there is hope that the world’s highest peak can regain its former glory while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the region.

Some of the indignant comments of travelers were. “That’s because most who can afford to go there are rich and cleaning is beneath them. It’s the status of the journey to the mountain they crave not its soul.”

Someone else suggested that “non-combustion robots should be able to operate there.
@thenorthface and other brands could come together and fund a volunteer robot project for collecting that trash with RC. That would be a dream challenge for geeks and roboticists worldwide. FYI.”

In Nepal, Mount Everest is known as “Sagarmatha,” meaning “forehead in the sky.” Standing at 8,849 meters (29,032 feet), it is the highest mountain above sea level in the world. Everest is part of the Himalayas, which spans 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) and runs through six countries in Asia.

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people known to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. It was a dangerous feat capturing the world’s attention. Since then, thousands of visitors have flocked to the mountain, and it is beginning to take its toll. Today, Everest is so overcrowded and full of trash that it has been called the “world’s highest garbage dump.”

A traveler Christopher Frost said, “The only thing I leave behind when travelling is footprints.”

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