Nepal has a stinky situation on its hands. Everest’s climbing season only lasts a measly two months, but nearly 700 climbers brave the world’s tallest peak and not all of them dispose of their trash, urine and feces properly. None of Mount Everest’s four base camps, which are located at 17,380 feet, have proper facilities.
Human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest has become a major problem, and is even threatening the spread of disease, Ang Tshering, the chief of Nepal’s mountaineering association, said, The Associated Press reports.
“Climbers usually dig holes in the snow for their toilet use and leave the human waste there,” Tshering told The Associated Press, adding that waste around the base camps has been accumulating for years.
“It is a health hazard and the issue needs to be addressed,” said Dawa Steven Sherpa, who has been at the forefront of Everest cleanup expeditions since 2008. Some climbers carry disposable toilet bags with them to the higher camps that don’t have any facilities, Sherpa said.
Last year the Nepalese government imposed new rules, which requires climbers to return to the base camp with 17.6 pounds of waste. The weight is an estimate of the average amount of trash climbers accumulate en route.
The government does not currently have plans to deal with the human waste issue, however Puspa Raj Katuwal, the head of the government’s Mountaineering Department, said officials will strictly monitor it, adding that climbing teams must submit a $4,000 deposit that they will lose if regulations are broken.
Human fecal waste and trash isn’t the only thing left on the mountainside. According to an article released in 2012 by Smithsonian Magazine, more than 200 human bodies remain frozen on the mountain. Some of them are even used as landmarks. Read more…