Mount Everest is the most famous mountain in the world, and every year, thousands of people set out to conquer it. Unfortunately, the volume of hopeful climbers does not come without its side effects, one being the mounds of rubbish strewn around the mountain. There are certainly no garbage bins or recycling plants on the most prominent peak in the world. Thankfully, cleanup operations are underway, with a 14-man volunteer operation currently collecting the waste and having much success.
The Rescue Effort
The dangerous rescue effort by the team of dedicated volunteers involves moving waste down from the mountain. The typical waste includes plastic bags, bottles, and discarded climbing equipment.
It is dangerous for the team to retrieve bodies. At any point, any member can be covered by an avalanche or lose their footing and fall. Despite the risks, in the first two weeks of the endeavor, an amazing three metric tons of garbage has been collected from the mountain. The target of the 14-person team is to remove 10 tons within 45 days.
The Mount Everest Trash Problem
The trash problem can be due to the fact that when climbing Mount Everest, staying alive takes precedence over saving the environment. When trying to stay alive, there is nothing to do but to abandon unnecessary rubbish.
The Nepalese Government has long been trying to resolve the waste problem on the mountain with little or no success. Since 2011, there have been numerous attempts to remove trash from the region, and some waste management systems have been introduced. An additional problem is climate change, which is melting the snow and impacting the ecosystem of the mountain in unpredictable ways.
More than Just Rubbish
The team also recovered four corpses in the cleanup attempt. Climate change and warmer temperatures are melting the snow, uncovering more bodies. The majority of bodies that attempt to make the climb are not recovered, as they cannot be located and the snow covers them up.
After 26,000 feet, it becomes challenging to survive because the oxygen level is not sufficient to sustain life. Extended time in this altitude will result in a deterioration of bodily functions and, ultimately, death. It is why the zone is called the ‘Death Zone.’
When attempting to climb Mount Everest, use the help of Sherpas who can help guide you in tricky ice and altitude situations. They can help you carry your loads.