Cleanup campaign on... Everest

English Section / 15 aprilie

Cleanup campaign on... Everest

Versiunea în limba română

Cleanliness in the workplace is very important. For climbers this goal is more difficult to achieve, the special working conditions make most activities difficult. The Nepalese army has begun a campaign to collect tons of garbage and at least five bodies from the world's highest mountain and two other peaks. The army intends to collect a total of 10 tons of solid waste from Everest (8,848 meters), Lhotse (8,516 meters) and Nuptse (7,861 meters), Brigadier General Sanjaya Deuja, director of the fifth edition of the campaign, told EFE which will end on June 5. "We all know that environmental pollution is increasing on the highest peak in the world, a delicate issue from an ecological point of view. Our mission is to protect the environment and the beauty of the mountain," explained Deuja. The goal is not purely aesthetic, he added, recalling that Himalayan glaciers "feed the people who live downstream" by feeding the Ganges or Indus rivers. According to the Nepalese official, the mission will involve 12 members of the Nepalese army specially trained to deal with at high altitudes and 18 Sherpas. Nepal has eight of the world's 14 highest peaks, all above 8,000 meters, and mountaineering is a major source of income for the country. Last year alone, the government issued a record 479 permits to climb Everest, and according to the Department of Tourism, 209 permits have already been issued this year. The other side of the coin is that the approximately 1,500 people who climb the world's highest peak each year - if we include mountain guides and porters - leave behind tons of waste such as empty oxygen cylinders, food scraps and excrement. .

Since 2014, Nepal's government has tried to stop the accumulation of garbage on Everest, forcing every climber to come down from the summit with at least eight kilograms of garbage, or risk losing a deposit worth $4,000. In addition to waste, there is the problem of the nearly 300 climbers who have lost their lives on Everest since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled the summit in 1953. It is estimated that two-thirds of the bodies remain buried under snow and ice, and many of them reappear each spring as temperatures rise. According to official sources, the recovery of bodies from Everest is a dangerous process due to the inherent risks involved in the activity at high altitude, but also expensive: the recovery of a body costs between 20,000 and 200,000 dollars depending on where it is located. The Nepalese army launched its first clean-up campaign in 2019 and has so far collected 108 tons of waste and recovered eight bodies from ten different mountains, mostly from Everest.