Chris Weiss's Blog

Poop and Garbage Pile Up on Everest

created at: 2011/10/31

You know that a destination has jumped the shark as a pinnacle of human challenge when the biggest problem facing it isn't so much the logistics of getting there, but the amount of garbage being left behind by the thousands that get there every year.

According to the Nepalese Ministry of Tourism, 35,000 visitors and 80,000 local guides go to Mount Everest each year. And they leave more than just memories.

After collecting eight metric tonnes of garbage from the Everest region, the Everest Summiteers Association has turned its attention to a different type of waste: poop. Apparently Everest climbers and trekkers have never heard of a poop pipe or trowel, because about 900 pounds of the waste that ESA cleaned up was feces. The organization is now lobbying the Nepalese governement to install toilets at base camp to help alleviate the problem of human waste.

And once again, you have to question mankind. I can understand (not condone) slyly throwing a piece of gum or burger wrapper out the car window onto a dirty highway, but how do you justify crapping and littering on the world's largest, most iconic mountain? I'd imagine the "pack in, pack out" ethos there is more lax than here, but you know there are plenty of climbers coming from the US and other countries where natural resource protection is a big issue, so you'd figure they'd show a little more respect to the mountain they paid thousands to climb. 

Good to see someone taking action, at least. ESA's clean-up efforts have been ongoing since 2008 and will continue.

ESA and Toronto Star

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