Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain above sea level, is extremely polluted with trash that it might just as well be the world's highest garbage dump.
The years of commercial mountaineering and the ever-growing number of inexperienced mountain hikers have accumulated tons of garbage in Mount Everest. Discarded camping gears, empty gas canisters, and human feces contaminated the once unpolluted place.
Global Warming And Changing Attitude Of Climbers
Global warming continues to melt glaciers on Mount Everest. Frozen garbage has started to thaw as well, exposing decades-old rubbish left by climbers. The amount of polluted air, water, and soil on the mountain have already been a cause of environmental concern in Nepal, India, and China.
Worst, the growing population of people climbing the Everest is becoming more of the "hobbyists" rather the previously genuinely passionate once. This year alone, there were about 600 people who triumphantly reached the peak. The problem with this is that these types of climbers seemed unconcerned about the environment.
In 2016, the United Nations estimated that the number of visitors to the Mount Everest has swelled from 20 in 1964 to approximately 26,000 in 2012. While the number of climbers brought additional income to the locals, they also brought along with them an estimated 300,000 pounds of solid waste.
At present, there have been concerns about continuous pour of inexperienced mountaineers mostly lured by affordable expedition packages. Sherpas, who used to get paid for bringing down sacks of garbage from the mountain, instead preferred to get paid carrying heavy camping gears for the amateur climbers.
Since 2014, officials have implemented a policy where each climber is required to bring down at least 17 pounds of trash from the Everest. Climbers are asked to pay a refundable fee that they can get once they return with the minimum amount of collected garbage.
Climbers, however, tend to be reluctant to collect trash and instead chose not to get the refund.
Pemba said many climbers at present simply do not care. Worst, some officials allegedly accepted bribes to let these tourists have their way.
What Governments Can Do
There is no known figure yet of how much garbage is deposited on Mount Everest. China, however, has retrieved an estimated 8.5 tons of garbage from the mountain early this month. Officials cleared about 5.2 tons of household waste, 2.3 tons of human excrement, and 1 ton of mountaineering trash. The country has been conducting cleaning operations in its side of the mountain since April. In the future, China plans to build a sustainable toilet and waste collection sites on Mount Everest.
Meanwhile, Garry Porter, an engineer from the United States said a biogas plant near the mountain's base camp would be beneficial. The plant could transform human feces into useful fertilizer.
Ang Tsering Sherpa, the ex-president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, recommended for the governments to create a dedicated garbage collectors team in the mountain.