Kathmandu: The popularity of mountaineering in Nepal has adversely affected the Mount Everest into the world’s highest garbage area since an increasing number of affluent climbers don’t heed to the environmental concerns they leave behind.
Tents made of plastic material, defunct equipment used in the expeditions, empty gas cylinders and human excrement litter the route to the summit of the 8800-meter peak.
Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who has the honour to scale the summit 18 times, said that the situation is disgusting and akin to an eyesore. The mountain is a dumping ground for tonnes of waste.
Despite that, the number of climbers on the mountain is soaring. About 600 people have already got to the top of the world’s highest peak so far in the year 2018, it is estimated.
Melting glaciers on the Everest top, which has been caused by global warming are exposing that accumulated trash like anything. It lies exposed on the mountain since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the history by creating first successful summit 65 years ago.
Although few efforts are being made. About 5 years ago Nepal had implemented to charge an amount of $4,000 deposit per team. According to the provision, that would be refunded if each climber brought down at least eight kilogrammes of waste.
Himalayan mountains which are on the Tibet side of the hill have different regulations. They are required to bring down the same amount but are fined $100 per kilogramme, if they don’t comply.
Climbers in Nepal brought down nearly 25 tonnes of trash and 15 tonnes of human waste in the year 2017. It is the equivalent of like three double-decker buses, a pollution control body of Nepal says.
The current season has seen even more of the garbage but this is not a full picture. It looks like a fraction of the rubbish dumped each year. Only half of the climbers bring down the required amounts of this wastage from the top, the spokesman of the body says.
There are reports that many climbers opt to forfeit the deposit than bring the garbage back on the earth. It looks like that many of them just don’t care. Some officials accept bribes to turn a blind eye to the situation, people complain. There is hardly proper monitoring at the camps to ensure the mountain stays clean.
The situation has fuelled the concerns of overcrowding as well as fears that more novice mountaineers are being drawn by expedition operators desperate for customers.
This inexperience is trying to create the rubbish problem, warns people, who care for the cause. Earlier, many climbers used to take their personal kit like extra clothes, food, sleeping bag as well as additional oxygen but the situation has changed now. Many climbers just leave everything to the Sherpas who are supposed to carry that.
The environmentalists say that those climbing belong to affluent families and have no concern for the environment. They should be strictly asked to deposit huge sums so that they may carry back garbage or else stop climbing.
It may be recalled that last month a cleanup team cleaned the area from 8.5 tonnes of waste from the northern slopes.