Nepal Says Litterbugs No Longer Welcome on Everest

Published By: The Himalayan Times
Date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Litterbugs, beware: Nepal is making new rules to persuade trekkers to clean up after themselves on Mount Everest, in the hopes of clearing the tonnes of rubbish now clogging the world's highest peak. Starting this spring, Nepal officials at Everest base camp will check that each climber descends the mountain with approximately eight kilograms of trash - the amount the government estimates an exhausted climber discards along the route. "We are not asking climbers to search and pick up trash left by someone else," said Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti, head of mountaineering department at the Tourism Ministry. " we just want them to bring back what they took up." the goal is to make sure no new trash will be left on Everest, which has earned the nickname 'the world's highest garbage dump' because of the tonnes of crumpled food wrappers, shredded tents and spent oxygen cylinders littering the mountain.

The government has long asked climbers to clear their trash, but there was no mechanism to check what people brought down. There also was little or no enforcement despite threats-which were rarely arrived out-to with $4,000 climbing deposits for polluting the teams. Some 230,000 people nearly half of Nepal's yearly foreign visitors-came last year specifically to trek the Himalayas, with 810 attempting to scale Everest. More than 4,000 climbers have scaled the 8,848- meter summit since 1953, when it was first conquered by New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay. Hundred of others have died in the attempt, while many have succeeded only with help from oxygen tanks, equipment porters and Sherpa guides. Nepal authorities have never had much control over what happens at the mountain's extreme altitudes and remote regions.Instead, private trekking companies organised logistics and report any problems. They are also left to clear the trash, launching yearly expeditions to bring own whatever hasn't been covered over by ice and snow since the last season's climbers tossed the refuse the side.


"There is no way to say how much garbage is still left on Everest," said Dawa Steven Sherpa, who has been leading Eco Everest Expeditions since 2008 and plans this year's effort to include about 30 foreign climbers and 45 Nepalis. "it is impossible to say what is under the ice." Still, Sherpas and environmentalists applauded the government's new clean-up rules. "This is a rule that should have been introduced a long time back," said Ang Tshering, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association. " It is going to make sure that climbers obey the rules." Nepalis - who consider the mountain they call Sagarmatha to be sacred sometimes attribute climbing deaths to bad karma earned through disrespecting the mountain. The Nepali language name Sagarmatha means "fore head of the sky; while the Tibetan name for Everest is Chomolangma, or goddess of the snow." For the government, the mountain is centrepiece of tourism industry of Nepali hotel owners, trekking guides and porters.

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