Kathmandu: Around five tons of garbage has been collected from Mount Everest during a clean-up campaign launched by the Nepalese authorities with the help of the army since mid-April.
“Till May 8, around 5,000 kg of waste material was collected and the air-lifting process of the garbage by the army is underway,” Nepal’s Director General of the Department of Tourism, Dandu Raj Ghimire, told ANI.
The campaign, which started on April 14, is expected to be completed by the first week of June. The tourism department has appointed Blue Waste Value Company to separate degradable and non-degradable waste.
“There are oxygen cylinders, tin cans, plastic bags and other plastic material as well as human waste,” Ghimire said.
“An army helicopter will go there today and will lift more garbage. Earlier, we had collected 3,000 kg out of which around 1,000 kg was handed over to Blue Waste Value Company,” he added.
Climbers making their way to Mount Everest have left trash over the years and converted the Himalayan peak and the slopes leading to it into the “world’s highest dumping ground”.
In 2014, the Nepalese government introduced a rule, making it mandatory for every climber to bring back at least eight kg of waste. It was based on an estimate that a climber would leave the same amount of waste while ascending to the peak.
The tourism department has deployed teams, including Sherpas, to clear the trash.
“The initial estimate of (Nepali) Rs 23 million for the clean-up operation does not seem enough now because many people are deployed and the cost will be higher,” Ghimire said.
The department has also received funds from various organisations and commercial groups.