Kathmandu: A total of 3,000 kg of solid waste has been collected from Mount Everest since April 14 when Nepal launched a clean-up campaign. The 45-day “Everest Cleaning Campaign”, led by Solukhumbu district’s Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality began on April 14 with the Nepali new year and aims to collect nearly 10,000 kg of garbage from Mt Everest. Dandu Raj Ghimire, Director General of Department of Tourism, on Sunday said of the 3,000kg garbage collected so far, 2,000kg had been sent to Okhaldhunga while the remaining 1,000kg was brought to Kathmandu using Nepali Army helicopters for disposal. Mr Ghimire was quoted as saying by The Himalayan Times,
Our team has now reached the Everest Base Camp for the cleaning campaign. All the necessary things including food, water, and shelter have already been arranged there.
“Under this campaign we will be collecting around 5,000-kg of garbage from Base Camp area, while 2,000-kg of garbage will be collected from the South Col region and around 3,000-kg will be collected from Camp II and Camp III area,” he said.
Mr Ghimire said the team will also bring down dead bodies from the Everest if they are able to locate any.
This is the first time ever that all stakeholders have come together to clean up the world’s highest peak, Mr Ghimire said.
The team has located four bodies while cleaning the Base Camp.
Mr Ghimire said the Tourism Department estimates that around 23 million Nepalese rupees will be spent for the campaign.
The department has estimated that at least 500 foreign climbers and over 1,000 climbing support staff will visit higher camps of Mt Everest this season as they prepare to scale the world’s highest peak as well as Mt Lhotse, the fourth tallest mountain, the report said.
Every year, hundreds of climbers, Sherpas and high altitude porters make their way to Everest, leaving behind tonnes of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste — including empty oxygen canisters, kitchen waste, beer bottles and faecal matter — on the highest peak, which has lately acquired notoriety as the “world’s highest garbage dump”. Mr Ghimire said in Kathmandu,
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.
There have been attempts in the past to clean up Everest, including a 2014 government-mandated provision making it mandatory for every climber to come down the peak with at least 8kg of garbage — the amount of trash estimated to be produced by one climber. Mr Ghimire was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post,
If only climbers brought back their own waste, it would greatly help keep Everest clean. It’s not about the 8-kg waste, but bringing back the waste they produce.
“Everything on Everest, other than rock and snow, will be brought back. The goal is to send the message that we should keep this mountain pollution free,” said Tika Ram Gurung, secretary of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
The month-and-a-half clean-up campaign is supported by a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies.
The campaign will conclude on May 29, the day marked every year to commemorate the first summit of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.