Mount Everest Trash: Officials Ask Climbers to Clean Up Mess

Image: Mount Everest Trash: Officials Ask Climbers to Clean Up Mess

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 02:21 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Nepal officials have finally drawn the line when it comes to adventurers leaving their trash on Mount Everest, and they have told climbers they must collect an extra 18 pounds of garbage upon returning to the bottom.

The New York Times reported climbers have left behind some 50 tons of trash on the world's highest mountain over the years, including empty oxygen bottles, tents, and food containers. There are also the remains of people who collapsed and died while scaling the mountain.

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"From now on, a climber is required to bring down eight kilograms of waste, and that excludes their own empty oxygen bottles and human dung," Madhusudhan Burlakoti, joint secretary of Nepal's tourism ministry, told the Times.

Burlakoti told the Wall Street Journal that about 300 foreign climbers and roughly 600 of their support staff of local Sherpas take on the 29,028-foot high Everest annually. 

"We also hear only from the mountaineers who have gone there and told us what they have seen," Burlakoti said. "But it's definitely alarming for us to start thinking about (cleaning up trash on the mountain) seriously."

Mountaineers must pay a $4,000 deposit to the Nepal government before going on a Mount Everest expedition. If a climber fails to bring back the waste they generated, they forfeit the deposit.

"Now, we at least want the climbers to compulsorily bring back their human waste," Mohan Krishna Sapkota, a Nepal tourism ministry spokesman, said. "We can even consider barring the climbers who fail to do that."

Burlakoti told The New York Times that Nepal is so serious about efforts to clean up Mount Everest that they will also consider legal action against climbers who do not comply, on top of keeping deposits.

"We will not compromise on it," Burlakoti said.

Frits Vrijlandt, president of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation, told NBC News he saw the trash back in 2000. 

"Gas canisters, oxygen bottles, broken tent remains, sleeping bag parts, equipment that people use for carrying them," he said. "It's not a trip to Disneyland."

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