Anyone who’s traveled the world and even some parts of the United States knows that trash is a very serious problem in some parts of the world. Climbers like to see the world and climb new heights & peaks, however, it seems now that in order to climb the highest peak, you’ll need to lug back around 18 pounds of trash with you.
Climbers wishing to climb Mount Everest are now subject to a Nepalese law that will require all who wish to scale Everest to carry back eight kilos of garbage back with them. The law takes effect in April.
“The government has decided in order to clean up Mount Everest, each member of an expedition must bring back at least eight kilos of garbage, apart from their own trash.”
As extreme as they may seem, the Nepalese tourism ministry feels the law will ensure that little to no new trash will be left on Everest as the number (17.6 pounds) corresponds with the amount of trash the average climber discards on the mountain.
The World’s Highest Garbage Dump
Long known as the ultimate destination for those looking to challenge their bodies and their minds to one of the heights peak on earth, Everest has had an increasing amount of foot-traffic over the past 60 years and has had an estimated 50 tons of waste left on the mountain.
Although the law is still admittedly a little vague, it’s overall reaction from local tour guides and the climbing community is so-far a positive one. Many companies in Nepal have already offered “eco-expeditions” with the goal of bringing back with them, all human waste, old garbage, air canisters and anything else they find while ascending.
STILL A TOURIST DESTINATION
Some have called for Everest to be shut down for a few years, in order to allow the mountain to recover organically and to relieve it of the foot traffic that it receives annually. The fact of the matter is that Everest is a money maker for the Nepalese government, raking in around $3.3 million a year in climbing fees alone. Tourism is a driving force in the Nepal economy, with the amount of work local sherpas receive to scale the mountain as guides, to the multi-national companies that have set-up shop to accommodate visiting guests of Nepal. Closing the mountain is just not an option.
For now, this seems like a simple solution to a very serious problem and is definitely a step in the right direction. As the world population rapidly approaches 8 billion people, it seems that trash is an issue that is not going away anytime soon. The Nepalese have adopted a method to clean up one of the world’s greatest attractions, hopefully we can see laws like this go into effect in areas of the US and around the world to keep some of nature’s most beautiful assets beautiful and available for the generations after us. Well done, Nepal, Climb on!