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Human waste on Mount Everest causing hazard

What do you do when you're at a mountain for months and need to relieve yourself?

Well, digging a hole in the ice and dumping your body waste there, seems the normal method.

But now, years of human waste left by climbers of the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest, is apparently festering into a potential health hazard.

According to the chief of Nepal's mountaineering association, Ms Ash Tshering, years of accumulated waste is causing pollution and threatening to spread disease.

Mount Everest has four base camps, located at around the 5,300m mark, where there are tents, equipments and supplies, but no toilets.

Every climbing season, which begins this week, more than 700 climbers and guides spend nearly two months on the mountain's slopes. They usually spend weeks at the base camps, acclimatising to the conditions before attempting to scale the summit, which is 8,850m high.

Ms Tshering told reporters that Nepal's government needs to get climbers to dispose of their waste properly so that the mountain can remain pristine.

“Climbers usually dig holes in the snow for their toilet use and leave the human waste there,” she said, adding that the dumps have been piling up.

Dawa Steven Sherpa, who leads clean-up expeditions on the mountain, said a few climbers bring travel toilet bags to the campsites.

“It is a health hazard and the issue needs to be addressed,” he said.

Starting this season though, officials stationed at the base camp will strictly monitor garbage on the mountain, said the government's head of mountaineering department Puspa Raj Katuwal.

It had imposed new rules last year requiring each climber to bring down to the base camp 8kg of trash, which is the amount it estimates a climber discards along the route.

Climbing teams must leave a $4,000 deposit that they lose if they don’t comply with the regulations.

More than 4,000 climbers have scaled summit since 1953, including several Singaporeans.

Source: The Guardian, BuzzFeed

 

Mount EverestUncategorisedWastebase camp