FunNature & AnimalEverest is the highest garbage dump in the world

Everest is the highest garbage dump in the world

More and more mountaineers, many of them inexperienced, pay thousands of euros to trekking and climbing agencies to take them to the top of the highest mountain in the world, at 8,848 meters above sea level. In their wake, they leave a trail of tents, oxygen bottles, various equipment and even excrement that do not disappear because the low temperatures preserve all the remains . “It is very unpleasant to see tons of garbage on the mountain,” says Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who has climbed to the summit 18 times. This year, about 600 people have climbed the mountain, making the situation worse and worse. Add to that the fact that warming is melting the Himalayan glaciers, and the debris accumulated since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first reached the top in 1953 is now exposed.

Some measures have been taken to improve this situation but they do not seem sufficient. For example, the government of Nepal required five years ago that all expeditions pay a deposit of $ 4,000 before going up , which is returned to them if they come down the mountain with a minimum of eight kilos of garbage per person. On the Tibetan side of the North Face, controlled by China, they are fined $ 100 per kilo if they do not return with that amount of waste. In 2017, a team of climbers from Nepal carried out a clean- up operation and collected about 25 tons of garbage , according to the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPPC), which is the name of Everest in the Nepalese language.

This year they have collected an even greater amount, but it is still only a fraction of the garbage accumulated on the road. And it is that most climbers give up to recover their deposit, which is still a trifle compared to the between 20,000 and 100,000 dollars they pay to live their adventure. Also, some policing officers take bribes for looking the other way. According to Pemba, there are not enough staff to control the cleanliness of the area.

In the last two decades, there has been a boom in expeditions to Everest , which is experiencing a mass of non-professional climbers willing to do anything to step on the roof of the world. His inexperience makes the garbage problem worse, according to Damián Benegas, who has been climbing in the area for more than twenty years with his twin brother Willie. Sherpas, altitude guides, and local ethnic workers carry heavy weights , including tents, oxygen cylinders, and ropes up and down the mountain. Before, normally each climber carried his own, but now the Sherpas do it all, who have to take care of the clients and guide them, so they do not have the capacity to lower the waste. The agencies operating on Everest increasingly employ more guides to take care of clients and their equipment, increasing overcrowding on the route. All this pollution is also affecting the water reserves downstream in the valley , where the villages of the local population settle. The sewage is washed down the valley by the monsoons, polluting everything. Hence, some experts, such as the American engineer Garry Porter, are considering the possibility of installing a biogas plant at Base Camp to recycle human excrement into fertilizers.

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