Pitched as the world’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest has wooed mountaineers the world over. The recent surge in the number of mountaineers has resulted in large amounts of trash being dumped on the mountain. Researchers remarked that this is predominantly due to a rise in commercial mountaineering and more of ‘hobbyists’ taking to the mountains, and leaving behind discarded climbing equipment, empty gas canisters, human excrement, and fluorescent tents.
Residents from villages close to the mountains reported that raw sewage from the base camp was also dumped into the river channels. Despite the rising number of cleanliness drives and projects, scientists are concerned that if the climbers do not take the responsibility of handling their trash, it could raise more severe issues on pollution along the mountains.
Avid climbers who have been frequently climbing the mountains called the notorious practice ‘disgusting’ and worried that the filth and the solid waste could contribute to global warming. What was once only frequented by passionate climbers, now witnesses hundreds of climbers every year. It was reported that only last year, a whopping 600 people took to climbing the peak. What’s more concerning is that despite attempts on reducing the trash, climbers have chosen to shrug it off and seem largely unconcerned.
Officials implemented a policy where each climber was asked to bring about 17 pounds of trash with them in exchange for a refundable deposit that the climber makes before starting the climb. Unfortunately, not many climbers come back to collect their money, since most seem reluctant to collect the trash.
However, there is some progress in bringing about a collective effort, especially national projects to build waste collection sites and sustainable toilets. Researchers have also opined that a biogas plant near the mountain’s major points would be beneficial. What’s better? These biogas plants, if created, would have the potential to create eco-friendly fertilizers from human feces.
The natural environment around us should be cherished and nurtured. Creating a dumpsite out of them will create more harm, choking the environment of its natural elements. The onus is on each of us to take the responsibility and the initiative to protect our natural space.