Lukla, March 17
As part of the Everest Clean-up Campaign 2018, 5,000 kg non-burnable and non-biodegradable waste from the Everest region was flown to Kathmandu from Lukla today.
An inaugural clean-up flight was officially flagged off from Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Lukla. As part of the commitment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals against climate change, Yeti Airlines and its subsidiary Tara Air had flown the waste from the Everest region with support from its campaign partners. The waste include empty beer bottles and cans, empty food tins, discarded mountaineering and trekking equipment.
Likewise, 100,000 kg solid waste was collected from different locations in Gorakshep, Gokyo, Pheriche, Pangboche, Thame, Namche Bazaar, Phakding, Monju, and Lukla. The waste was brought to Lukla Airport by porters and zopkyoks — a hybrid between the yak and domestic cattle. The waste after being flown to Kathmandu was handed over to Blue Waste to Value in Kathmandu. The recycling firm will segregate and recycle the waste.
The Himalayan region is facing a growing environmental threat from the waste generated by tourism activities. Despite rigorous efforts of rural municipalities and local conservation organisations, managing large volume of waste in this Himalayan region remains a challenge.
“It is our fight against environment degradation. Lukla is important to us as thousands of tourists visit the region. It is also in our interest to support this region. This campaign encourages to keep our Himalayas unspoiled,” said Umesh Chandra Rai, CEO, Yeti Airlines.
Yeti Airlines and its subsidiary Tara Air has been actively involved in assisting Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, a local environmental conservation organisation and the Himalayan Club, Lukla, in removing non-burnable and non-biodegradable waste from the region since 2008.
The airlines as a part of its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals against climate change had set an ambitious target of flying out 100 tonnes of waste from the Everest region with support from its campaign partners. “Such activities will help promote a culture of ethical and responsible business, while ultimately contributing to achieve the Sustainable Development goals,” said Valerie Juliand, UN Resident Co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Nepal.
It is estimated that 46,000 trekkers had visited the Everest region in 2017.
A version of this article appears in print on March 18, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.