Sunday, January 29, 2023

Mount Everest Has a Huge Waste Problem


Mount Everest is climbed by hundreds of visitors every year. They just don’t come and go, they leave human waste. That right there has become a big problem. Not only is it causing pollution but it is threatening to spread disease all over the mountain.

Around 700 climbers per season try to make their journey to the peak and spends months on the mountain. In this time, they leave feces and urine. This problem has not been adressed by officials and now it has evolved into a bigger one says Ang Tshering.

His opinion is that Nepal’s goverment should force the climbers to dispose of the waste properly so the place can remain in the best condition possible. Doesn’t sound difficult to do but it would take a lot of planning and discussion to get this done.

Just this week, hundreds on foreign climbers started their journey to the top in what’s known as Nepal’s mountaneering season.  The season started this week and will end in May. Around this time last year, the season was cancelled after 16 guides were killed in an avalanche.

The climbers spend weeks around the four camps established between the 17,380-ft and the 29,035-ft summit.  The camps have all kinds of equipment, supplies and gear. The only bad thing about these establishments? No toilets.

The only way to do your necessities is by digging a hole in the snow. This is taking a toll on the mountain because the waste has been piling up for years around the four camps. At the starting camp, there are toilets tents with drums to store the waste. This waste is then properly disposed. This isn’t the case for the other camps.

A man by the name of Dawa Steven Sherpa has been leading the Everest cleanup expeditions for a while now and he says that some climbers try to be responsible by carrying disposable travel toilet bags but that is also not good. He says it is a health hazard that also needs to be adressed.

The government of Nepal has not come up with an effective plan or solution for this problem. The only change now is that starting this season, officials around the camps will strictly watch all the garbage on the mountain. Just last year, the goverment added a new rule that forced each climber to bring down to the base camp 18 pounds of waste and garbage. If not done, they lose the $4000 deposit that this regulation asks for. This doesn’t seem to be working as the human waste and trash is still piling up.

Since 1953, more than 4,000 climbers have tried to reach the top. While many have left waste, only a few have conquered it. The first to do so was a New Zealand climber by the name of Edmund Hillary and his guide Tenzing Norgay. What would you do to reduce the amount of human waste and trash left by the climbers? Should the government add more rules and fines? Would you visit Mt. Everest after reading this article?


Sean Farlow
University graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration. Big fan of sports teams from South FL.


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