A Nepal government expedition to Mount Everest has removed 11 tonnes of rubbish and four dead bodies from the world’s highest mountain, officials said on Wednesday, June 5. according to Al Jazeera.
Climbers returning from the 8,850-metre-high mountain say its slopes are littered with human excrement, used oxygen bottles, torn tents, ropes, broken ladders, cans and plastic wrappers left behind by climbers – an embarrassment for a country that earns valuable revenue from Everest expeditions.
Some of the rubbish was flown to Kathmandu and handed over to recyclers in a ceremony on Wednesday, officially concluding the cleaning campaign. Officials called it a successful mission but said more rubbish still needs to be collected. Some is covered by snow and only is exposed when temperatures rise.
Officials have not been able to estimate exactly how much rubbish is on the mountain. Most was at Camps 2 and 3, at which climbers can rest along the way between the base camp and the summit.
A clean-up team of 20 Sherpa climbers collected five tonnes of litter in April and May from different camps sites above the base camp and another six tonnes from the areas below, said Dandu Raj Ghimire, director general of the Department of Tourism.
“Unfortunately, some garbage collected in bags at the South Col could not be brought down due to bad weather,” Ghimire said in a statement on Wednesday.
The four bodies were exposed by melting snow and were carried to base camp and then flown to a hospital in Kathmandu for identification, Ghimire said.
Climbers struggling to make it down the mountain alive sometimes are unable to carry out the bodies of teammates who have died.