KATHMANDU, Nepal will send a dedicated team to Mount Everest this climbing season to collect garbage and retrieve bodies littering the world's highest peak, officials said.
Decades of commercial mountaineering have turned the mountain into the world's highest rubbish dump as an increasing number of bigspending climbers pay little attention to the ugly footprint they leave behind.
Fluorescent tents, discarded climbing equipment, empty gas canisters and even human excrement pollute the welltrodden route to the summit of the 8,848m peak.
We take pride in Mount Everest but we are often accused of not being able to clean it We have now come together to clean the mountain, said Dandu Raj Ghimire, chief of Nepal's tourism department.
The government has joined hands with mountaineering associations, the army and local organisations to coordinate the cleanup effort.
A 14member team will be sent to Everest base camp from April 25 and aim to bring back 10,000kg of trash.
Eight members will then ascend to Camp 2 at 6,400m and teams of three will take turns to go up to Camp 4 at 7,950m, where they will spend 15 days litterpicking on the snowy slopes.
Climbers and high altitude workers will be given incentives to bring back the bundled trash down to the base camp and the recyclables will be airlifted to the capital.
This is the first time the government has taken initiative to clean the mountain but it can't be done in just one year. We have to continue this, said Santa Bir Sherpa of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
Six years ago, Nepal implemented a US$4,000 rubbish deposit per team that would be refunded if each climber brought down at least 8kg of waste, but only half of the climbers return with their trash.
In February, China banned nonclimbers from accessing its Everest base camp in Tibet in an attempt to clean up its side of the mountain.
Over 4,000 people have climbed Everest so far, and last year saw a record 807 climbers reach the summit.
Melting glaciers caused by global warming are exposing bodies and trash that have accumulated on the mountain since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first successful summit 66 years ago.
Environmentalists are also concerned that the pollution on Everest is also affecting water sources down in the valley.
Source: Nam News Network