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Mt. Everest trash: Unbelievable amounts of litter are trashing our highest peak

NBC News
NBC News
Mt. Everest trash is piling up, and Nepali officials have had enough of the litterbug climbers.

Mt. Everest trash is piling up, and Nepali officials at Everest base camps are sick of the litterbug climbers. As the simple rule of physics says – What goes up must come down.

According to a March 4 reports from The Associated Press, as carried by Fox Sports, officials “will check that each climber descends the mountain with approximately 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of trash – the amount the government estimates an exhausted climber discards along the route.”

As majestic as Everest is, even our planet’s highest peak at 29,000 feet is unfortunately polluted. Officials estimate that literal tons of debris are whipping about in the fierce winds, from shredded tents to food cans to discarded oxygen cylinders.

“We are not asking climbers to search and pick up trash left by someone else,” said Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti, head of the mountaineering department at the Tourism Ministry. “We just want them to bring back what they took up.”

Nicknamed “the world's highest garbage dump,” Everest rules for climbers always required a “clean mountain” policy, with a proposed $4,000 penalty in withheld climbing funds to teams that pollute the mountain. However, there were no checks in place, and the penalty was rarely, if ever, enforced.

“There is no way to say how much garbage is still left on Everest,” said Sherpa Dawa Steven, who has been leading Eco Everest Expeditions since 2008. “It is impossible to say what is under the ice.”

In addition to the garbage, the mountain is littered with dead bodies. Over 200 individuals have died trying to scale Everest’s sides; most of the bodies are left on the mountain. The high altitude and freezing temps slow decomposition, though most of the bodies are long since buried under ice and snow.

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