The mighty ‘roof of the world’ as we know it is situated in the beautiful country of Nepal. Mount Everest has been attracting climbers from all around the globe for decades. For a mountain that experiences this much footfall, is bound to also be surrounded by garbage (thanks, humans). Sadly, another name has been given to this imposing structure of nature and that is, ‘world’s highest garbage dump’.
Yes, with the Everest becoming more accessible, its ecosystem is now in danger. The garbage found on the mountain varies from sleeping bags to gas canisters, human excrement and so on.
Nepal’s tourism largely depends on the Everest. According Ang Tshering Sherpa, a former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, a total of 5,200 men and women have climbed to the peak. The small country yet efficient in its own right has decided to take charge of cleaning the mountain.
A team of 14 members have collected 6,600 pounds (3,000kg) of waste, largely comprising simple trash or human waste, however the non-biodegradable waste such as oxygen canisters, tents, plastic and other gear has been collected for disposal in Kathmandu. This is a 45 days campaign that will continue till the 29th of May. The drive has become so successful with the locals that more and more people are volunteering fright from a concerned citizen to NGOs to the military.
Nepal’s tourism has also brought forward a rule for the climbers. There is a refundable security deposit of $4000 (INR 28,000) to be paid and it will only be reimbursed once the climber returns with at least 17 pounds (8kg) of waste apart from his/her own trash.
Unfortunately, people have started to discover dead bodies of past climbers, which have to be retrieved too. They say that close to 200 people have died in their pursuit to climb to the peak. Some of the bodies date as far back as 1922. The reason for them to show up now is global warming. With temperatures on the rise, the snow has started to melt.
This cleaning drive should not inspire only its locals but also people around the world to clean their surroundings. We only have a little over 11 years to get our shit together as a planet before we reach the point of no return and leave our kids to die in the face of climate change.