10 Tons Of Garbage Have Been Repurposed After Being Removed From Mount Everest

Way back in 1953, when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first scaled the heights of Mount Everest, they were the first two humans to ever walk that land. The peak must have been peaceful, majestic, and pristine.

But not now.

The Washington Post reports that Everest has become a sort of garbage dump thanks to the many who have scaled the mountain in the past 66 years:

“The problem is what they leave behind — tons of garbage and human waste that have earned the natural wonder the distinction as the ‘world’s highest garbage dump.’

“The issue was underscored … when the government of Nepal announced that 24,200 pounds of garbage were pulled off the mountain during a 45-day cleanup expedition … Bigyan Dev Pandey, a spokesman for the Nepal Army, told the paper that the tens of thousands of pounds of trash included ’empty oxygen cylinders, plastic bottles, cans, batteries, food wrappings, fecal matter and kitchen waste.'”

Yes, you read that correctly: 10 tons of garbage were taken from Mount Everest thanks to a 12-person cleanup crew who scaled the mountain and took away the massive amount of trash they found:

“’Our goal is to extract as much waste as possible from Everest so as to restore glory to the mountain. Everest is not just the crown of the world, but our pride,’ Dandu Raj Ghimire, the director general of Nepal’s department of tourism, said at a news conference after the mission began, the Kathmandu Post reported in April.”

And while the garbage is now gone from the mountain, it wasn’t dumped somewhere else. As a matter of fact, much of it was repurposed, according to the World Economic Forum:

“At the Hotel Yak & Yeti in Kathmandu, there’s a chandelier made of green glass bottles. Not so long ago, they were in what’s been dubbed the ‘world’s highest dumpster’ – on the slopes of Mount Everest.

“Since 2013, Moware Design has been promoting the circular economy in the Himalayas – while also helping to employ local women from low-income families – by upcycling waste into useful products.

 

“’Waste is a taboo in our society, considered as dirt,’ Ujen Wangmo Lepcha of Moware told AFP. ‘When they see these kind of products they are like ‘wow’, these things can be made and it is possible.'”

Mount Everest has become popular with tourists and climbers, which is great for the local economy and brings at least $300 million annually to the tiny nation of Nepal. But it also increases the environmental impact of so many people who leave their detritus on the mountain at the same time they’re stimulating the economy, Col. Ranveer Singh Jamwal, an Indian Army officer and veteran Everest climber, notes:

“That’s a huge amount of money for a relatively poor country like Nepal.”

John All, an environmental sciences professor at Western Washington University, says the increased foot traffic has had a major impact on the environment:

“’Overall, the past 10 years have seen a lot of changes in the mountains, and they all have been for the negative environmentally in terms of long term survivability of the glaciers.’

“Specifically, All and his team noted the dark color of the snow around Everest — a result of pollution.

“’What that means is there are little pieces of pollution that the snow is forming around, so the snow is actually trapping the pollution and pulling it down.”

There are already plans to continue the “cleanliness drive” next year, which will hopefully help prevent any buildup of trash on the mountain.

 

Featured Image Via NDTV

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Andrew Bradford
 

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