Kathmandu, March 3:
In a bid to clean Mt. Everest of waste accumulated over decades of climbing, the Nepal government has introduced a new provision — effective the coming spring season — according to which every climber will have to bring down at least eight kg of garbage to base camp while returning from the expedition, an official here said Monday.
“Each climber will have to return with a minimum eight kg of solid waste from the coming spring and everyone will have to abide by this condition,” Madhusudan Burlakoti, joint secretary in Nepal’s tourism ministry, told Xinhua over phone.
Though the Nepal government has always sought that climbers to the world’s highest peak come down with some solid waste, this is the first time the government has stipulated the minimum amount of waste it wants to be brought down.
The tourism ministry announced in the third week of February the setting up of a contact office at the base camp of Mt. Everest to ensure the safety of climbers. The contact office will also have personnel of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC).
“The mountaineer will have to hand over the waste he/she carries back from Everest to the SPCC,” said Burlakoti adding that this would “not only help make the peak clean but also help to preserve the glory of Nepal”.
The SPCC will then dispose the disposable waste and bring the non-disposable waste to Kathmandu and hand it over to the Kathmandu Metropolitan Office for further treatment.
Previously, climbers were asked to hand over disposable garbage at SPCC while carrying non-disposable waste all the way to Kathmandu and give it to the Kathmandu Metropolitan Office.
Burlakoti said the campaign will be launched on a trial basis.
“If it succeeds, we will prepare a legislation to further the campaign and expand it to other mountains,” he said.
According to government statistics, around 450 climbers from all over the world scale the world’s highest peak every year.
Stakeholders said Mt. Everest still has some 50 tonnes of waste, including used oxygen cylinders, ropes, bottles, ladders and clothes, among others, which have been piling up for the last more than 50 years.