New Delhi, Jun 17: Passionate Mountaineers who are less considerate about their ecological footprint have left permanent scars on the face of Mount Everest. The 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) mountain peak has now become notorious for being known as the world’s highest rubbish dump.
Commercial mountaineering have turned the mountain into a dumping yard. This year alone, around 600 big-spending climbers scaled the peak discarding litters such as fluorescent tents, climbing equipment, empty gas canisters and even human excrement. Pemba Dorje Sherpa, a mountaineer who has scaled Mount Everest 18 times, told AFP, “It is disgusting, an eyesore.”
Many climbers who invest $20,000-$100,000 for the experience never bother to clean the rubbish they discard. Pemba Dorje shrugged when he blamed the corrupt officials who accept small bribes from climbers do not carry down their garbage. He added, “There is just not enough monitoring at the high camps to ensure the mountain stays clean.”Moreover, the melting ice caps — an indicator of climate change, has revealed tonnes of waste hidden in the mountain. In the last two decades, the Everest industry has boomed, exacerbating the rubbish problem.
The Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) has stated that the climbers in Nepal cleaned nearly 25 tonnes of trash and 15 tonnes of human waste which is equivalent to three double-decker buses, during the year 2017. However in the current season the garbage cleaned was even more. According to China’s state-run Global Times report, a 30-strong cleanup team collected 8.5 tonnes of waste from the northern slopes of Everest last month.
Meanwhile environmentalists are concerned about the impact of the pollution on the water sources down in the valley. Ang Tsering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association believes that organising a dedicated rubbish collection team would solve this humongous problem. Ang said, “It is not an easy job. The government needs to motivate groups to clean up and enforce rules more strictly.”
There are plans to install a bio-gas plant near Everest base camp, so that the human excreta is dumped in trenches and converted into useful fertiliser.
(With inputs from Agencies)