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Mt. Everest trash renders trails deplorable: Now what goes up, must come down

Mt. Everest trash collection, you climb, you tow it home!
Mt. Everest trash collection, you climb, you tow it home!
Wikimedia Commons

Mt. Everest trash has earned the mountain the nickname “the world’s highest garbage dump” and the folks in Nepal are now aiming to fix this. The Mt. Everest trash is going to come back down the mountain with the climbers if the Nepali officials have anything to say about this, according to Fox Sports from MSN on March 4.

Climbers are taking the trek up the mountain and leaving behind their garbage which includes tons of food wrappers, shredded tents and spent oxygen canisters. Starting this spring the Mt. Everest base camp will have another function, weighing in the trash.

It is estimated that each climber deposits about 18 pounds of trash along their climbing route, so the folks at the Mt. Everest base camp are going to be checking for folks to bring back that amount back with them down the mountain when their trek is over.

The Nepali officials are not asking for the climbers to pick other folks’ trash along the way, they just want them to bring their own personal trash back with them. This is not the first attempt made by officials to get people to be accountable for their own trash.

Without a checking mechanism in place, there was no way to know if the climbers did come down off the mountain with their trash in tow. Everest officials had made threats of penalties in the past trying to prompt people to bring back their trash with them, but they were “rarely enforced.” They were told that the $4,000 climbing deposits for polluting teams could be withheld, but that didn't happen.

The government has not released what penalty the climbers will face if they do not tote their garbage back with them, but this latest attempt appears to be a serious one at cleaning up their mountain. Since 1953, more than 4,000 people have made the trek to the top of Mt. Everest, which is 29,035 feet at the summit.

While those 4,000 climbers in the last 60 years or so wouldn’t have made the mountain a garbage dump, it is more like the hundreds of thousands who come each year to trek the Himalayas that add to this garbage dilemma.

Last year 230,000 people came to climb the Himalayas with 810 of them heading for Mt. Everest’s peak. Private companies are contracted each year to bring down the garbage not covered in snow and ice that is left over from the climbing season on Mt. Everest. This is not enough, so the new rules of toting your own trash will be a great help in cleaning up one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders.

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