Climbers to Stop Trashing Everest

Mandatory cleanup begins in April

Hiker silhouette, Himalayas (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Beginning this April, Nepalese officials are requiring climbers on Mount Everest to haul 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of garbage off the mountain in an effort to clean up decades of trash buildup. The new regulation does not include personal trash collection, turning future mountaineers into mandatory stewards of the alpine environment on Everest.

They don’t have to haul it far, though. An office for receiving the trash will be set up next to base camp in time for the new regulation to take effect. The plans also include toilets to help alleviate human waste problems on the mountain and soldiers to enforce law and order on the mountain. Climbers who do not adhere to the new rule will face legal action in the form of a fine or confiscation of their expedition deposit, worth $4,000. “Our earlier efforts have not been very effective. This time, if climbers don't bring back garbage, we will take legal action and penalize them,” explained tourism official Madhusudan Burlakoti.

Trash has been building up on the mountain for decades, including items such as oxygen cylinders, ropes, and beer cans—as well as human bodies, which remain frozen where they fell. Dawa Sherpa, expedition manager at Asian Trekking, reports, “The Eco Everest Expedition has collected some 15 tons of garbage, 600 kilograms of human waste, and six bodies since 2008.”

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