Tourism

Mount Everest turns into world’s highest rubbish dump

Laine Fullerton

The iconic Mount Everest site is turning into what looks like a dumping ground, as photographs have emerged showing the amount of waste that visitors are leaving in their trail.

And there is nothing better to sum up our reaction to this news, than the following GIF.

angry GIF

According to News.com, locals fear it is becoming the world’s highest rubbish dump.

Seasonal climber Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who has summitted the mountain 18 times, told AFP she is disgusted with the rubbish fellow climbers are leaving behind.

“It’s disgusting, an eyesore. The mountain is carrying tonnes of waste.”

Experienced climbers are pointing fingers at inexperienced visitors as the main culprits for the rubbish dumping.

In some group tour situations, clients rely on guides to carry their gear, making it difficult for them to carry down rubbish on top of this.

As per News.com, Damian Benegas, who has been climbing Everest for over 20 years, said: “They [guides] have to carry their client’s gear so they are unable to carry down the rubbish.”

Most rubbish is located at the ‘death zone’, with items like ropes, tents, discarded oxygen and cooking gas cylinders, beer cans, and even faeces being left behind.

Because there are no toilets at the four camps along the way, climbers usually bury their faeces, but with flocks of climbers scaling the peak each year, the waste begins to accumulate.

Exposed faeces also poses a huge threat for the spread of disease.

Last year the Nepalese government implemented a law requiring all climbers scaling Mount Everest to bring back 8 kilograms of rubbish under rules designed to clean up the peak.

Those who fail to meet these requirements do not receive a return on their $4000 rubbish deposit, a very small amount in comparison to the cost of climbing Mount Everest which can range from $27,000 to $135,000.

According to the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), in 2017 climbers brought down nearly 25 tonnes of trash and 15 tonnes of human waste, the equivalent of three double-decker buses.

However, the waste problem is not only escalating because of the current dumping habits of climbers, but also due to the fact that the glaciers are continuing to melt and therefore uncovering litter that was previously hidden over decades.

With at least 600 people having climbed Mount Everest this year, particularly over the peak season in April and May, the SPCC hopes to send around 100-tonnes of materials to be recycled in 2018.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

  • Max Turpin

    Just under 1,000 people attempt to climb Everest each year. This includes a combination of clients, professional climbers, Sherpa’s and other guides. Take out the Sherpa’s and guides, and let’s say half are clients and prof. climbers (500 pax). It costs at least 30k, often closer to $45k, to attempt the climb. Why not charge each of them a poultry $150.00 “rubbish tax” (call it what you will), and you’d have $75k each year to clean up the rubbish they leave behind. Simple surely?!

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