Monday, July 15, 2024

Cleaning up Everest’s highest camp will take years due to the amount of frozen garbage littered there.

Cleaning Up Mount Everest: Sherpas Remove 11 Tons of Garbage and Bodies from World’s Tallest Mountain

Mount Everest’s Highest Camp Littered with Trash and Frozen Bodies, Sherpa Team Reports

KATHMANDU, Nepal — The highest camp on Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, is facing a daunting cleanup task as a team of Sherpas and soldiers recently removed 11 tons of garbage, four dead bodies, and a skeleton from the area near the peak.

Ang Babu Sherpa, who led the cleanup team, revealed that there could be as much as 40-50 tons of garbage still remaining at South Col, the last camp before climbers make their summit attempts. The garbage, frozen at the high altitude of 8,000 meters, includes old tents, food packaging, gas cartridges, oxygen bottles, and climbing equipment left behind by previous expeditions.

Despite efforts to reduce waste in recent years, with climbers now required to bring back their garbage or forfeit their deposits, the accumulation of garbage from older expeditions remains a significant challenge. The team of Sherpas and soldiers worked diligently throughout the spring climbing season to clear up the mess left behind by climbers over the years.

The hazardous conditions at South Col, where oxygen levels are low and weather can quickly turn treacherous, presented a challenge for the cleanup efforts. Digging out the frozen garbage and bodies embedded in the ice proved to be a difficult and time-consuming task.

The bodies, once retrieved, were flown to a hospital in Kathmandu for identification. While three tons of decomposable waste were taken to nearby villages, the remaining eight tons were transported to Kathmandu for recycling.

Sushil Khadga, from the agency responsible for managing recyclable waste, noted that the oldest waste they received dated back to 1957, highlighting the longstanding impact of climbers leaving behind trash on the mountain.

The extreme conditions faced by climbers at high altitudes were cited as a reason for the littering, as their focus is primarily on their own survival. However, efforts to raise awareness about environmental conservation among climbers are ongoing to prevent further pollution on the world’s tallest peak.

As cleanup efforts continue on Everest, the Sherpa team and soldiers are committed to preserving the pristine environment of the mountain for future generations of climbers.

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