Variety

Nepal collects 3,000-kg garbage; 7,000 kg to go

PTI Kathmandu | Updated on April 29, 2019 Published on April 29, 2019

Every year, hundreds of climbers, Sherpas and high-altitude porters make their way to Everest, leaving behind tonnes of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste   -  Reuters

A total of 3,000 kg of solid waste has been collected from Mt Everest since April 14 when Nepal launched an ambitious clean-up campaign aimed at bringing back tonnes of trash from the world’s highest peak, which has lately turned into a ‘garbage dump.’

The 45-day ‘Everest Cleaning Campaign’, led by Solukhumbu district’s Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality began on April 14 with the Nepali new year and aims to collect nearly 10,000 kg of garbage from Mt Everest.

Dandu Raj Ghimire, Director General of Department of Tourism, said that of the 3,000-kg garbage collected so far, 2,000 kg had been sent to Okhaldhunga while the remaining 1,000 kg were brought to Kathmandu using Nepali Army helicopters for disposal.

This is the first time ever that all stakeholders have come together to clean up the world’s highest peak, Ghimire said.

Restoring glory

Ghimire said the Tourism Department estimates that around 23 million Nepalese rupees will be spent for the campaign. At least 500 foreign climbers and over 1,000 climbing support staff will visit higher camps of Mt Everest this season as they prepare to scale the world’s highest peak as well as Mt Lhotse, the fourth tallest mountain, the report said.

Every year, hundreds of climbers, Sherpas and high-altitude porters make their way to Everest, leaving behind tonnes of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste — including empty oxygen canisters, kitchen waste, beer bottles and faecal matter — on the highest peak, which has lately acquired notoriety as the “world’s highest garbage dump“.

“Our goal is to extract as much waste as possible from Everest so as to restore glory to the mountain. Everest is not just the crown of the world, but our pride,” said Ghimire. There have been attempts in the past to clean up Everest, including a 2014 government-mandated provision making it mandatory for every climber to come down the peak with at least 8-kg of garbage — the amount of trash estimated to be produced by one climber.

The month-and-a-half clean-up campaign is supported by a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies. It will conclude on May 29, the day marked every year to commemorate the first summit of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

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Published on April 29, 2019
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