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How Everest was turned into the highest mountain garbage dump

Everest, the highest mountain on the planet, is now also the highest garbage dump, and the problem is getting worse. The number of climbers who want to conquer the peak is only increasing, as well as the garbage left behind them.

Reflective tents, climbing gear, empty canisters and even human excrement lie on the way to the 8,848-meter summit. All this trash has been dumped by people who apparently don’t care about the environment.

“It’s disgusting, an eyesore,” said Nepalese climber Pemba Dorje, who holds the world record for the fastest ascent of Everest. – The mountain is littered with tons of debris.”

In addition, melting glaciers reveal more debris that has lain there since the days of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgey, the first men to conquer Everest 65 years ago.

Five years ago, the Nepalese authorities imposed a deposit of four thousand dollars for any team that brought at least eight kilograms of trash from the mountain. On the Tibetan side of the Himalayas, one must carry the same amount of trash or face a fine of $100 per kilogram.

According to the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, climbers in Nepal brought in about 25 tons of trash and 15 tons of human waste in 2017. This season, even more trash was brought in, but all of this is just a fraction of the nightmare that goes on at altitude and gets worse every year.

Many climbers do not pay attention to the amount of the deposit, which does not compare to what they have to spend for the whole trip – from 20 to 100 thousand dollars. In addition, government officials take bribes and do not fine climbers.

The Everest climbing industry has grown tremendously in the last 20 years. And it causes fears because of possible overpopulation, as well as attraction of inexperienced people by the organizers of cheap expeditions. And inexperience only exacerbates the garbage problem.

Environmentalists fear that pollution may affect the water sources that flow down into the valley. At the moment, sewage from the main camp at altitude drains into trenches near the nearest village. During the rainy season, this flows further into the river.

Specialists are considering installing a biogas plant near the Everest base to turn the excrement into a useful fertilizer. Another solution to the problem is a dedicated team that will collect the garbage.