Kathmandu, June 30
With the end of the year’s main climbing season, mountaineers generated over thirty tonnes of garbage below Camp II on Mt Everest, an official at Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee said.
SPCC Chairman AngDorje Sherpa said the garbage management staff collected 32,241 kg garbage generated by climbers from Everest base camp and Camp II this season. “The team brought down 13,501 kg combustible garbage from base camp and 1,941 kg from Camp II to a waste management facility at Namche,” he said.
According to Sherpa, 2,245 kg non-combustible garbage — 1,735 kg from EBC and 510 kg from Camp II — are being transported to Kathmandu for recycling.
“At least 12,995 kg human waste and 4,010 kg kitchen waste were collected from EBC this season,” he said.
Nearly 1,000 climbers and their support staff spent about two months on the slopes of Everest this climbing season. “Climbers left more garbage in the region this season than in the past two seasons,” Sherpa said.
SPCC, which has the task of managing garbage up to Camp II on Mt Everest, said 30,662 kg garbage, including human and kitchen waste, was collected from the base camp last spring season while it collected only 25,920 kg in 2016. “Climbers deposited 2,451 kg garbage at Camp II this season, while the amount stood at 2,026 and 1,891 kg in the two preceding seasons,” Sherpa said. He added that Everest Base Camp is now totally free of garbage.
SPCC has been working for more than 25 years to keep Mt Everest and its foothills clean by building appropriate waste management infrastructure, setting up a system for waste segregation and disposal, strengthening community participation in waste management, disseminating public education and formulating policies for proper waste management in coordination with the government, he added.
The SPCC urged the government to develop a strategy for managing garbage above Camp II. “If assigned, SPCC is ready to bring the garbage down from the high camps,” Sherpa said.
The UN Environment Patron Ben Fogle, who recently returned from Mt Everest summit, reported that he found the Everest trail cleaner than the streets in Great Britain. “SPCC’s efforts are really commendable.”
According to Sherpa, SPCC has set up a system for segregating combustible and non-combustible garbage for sustainable management of waste in the Everest region. “There are more than 70 garbage bins at various resting points along the major trekking trails of the Everest region,” he added.
The SPCC has also partnered with the Mt Everest Biogas Project to convert human waste into biogas through an anaerobic biogas digester.
Tara Air also announced that it would fly out at least 100 tonnes of waste from the Mount Everest region in 2018 as part of its commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, Sherpa added.
A version of this article appears in print on July 01, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.