Pristine Environment, Bhutan

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mt.Everest: World 's Highest Garbage Dump?

Everyone knows that Mt. Everest is the worlds highest mountain on earth.  But soon it might be getting  an another title: "World's Highest Garbage Dump." The Mount Everest region has become a major tourism destination. The enormous growth in visitors has brought great strains on the natural environment and produced mountains of rubbish – from base camp and up to the high ‘death zone.'Waste disposal has always been a major  issue in the Everest region since the time tourism started. According to the recent estimates, there are nearly 120 tons of litter and 120 dead bodies on Mt. Everest.The climbers, either after conquering Mt. Everest or making an attempt to conquer it, leave behind their high-tech climbing equipment, plastics, food, tins, oxygen tanks, aluminum cans, clothes, glass, papers and tents.Move over, it is said that  the disposal of human waste can also pose a threat to the environment: if not buried at least 50m  away from water,  human waste  can  pollute  the water. 

At 8848 meters, Mt Everest is the world's tallest, and one of its most remote, trash heaps. Shown here is part of its 
accumulation of plastic bottles

Hi, frozen body!
The petrified, frozen remains of climber George Leigh Mallory lie on a slope of Mount Everest. The lost mountaineer's remains were found 75 years after he and fellow climber Andrew Irvine disappeared in 1924 trying to reach the summit.

Therefore, mountaineering expeditions have produced severe litter disposal problems on Mount Everest itself as well as along the trails.Of the many problems, pollution of water and the environment poses perhaps the severest threat to the health of the natural environment and of the people who depend on the snow-fed rivers for their livelihoods. Likewise, any severe drop in the numbers of tourists and climbers would have extremely harsh consequences for the local people, who  have come to depend heavily on tourism.Unless something is done real soon, Mt. Everest will get the dubious title as well. I don't think either the late Sir Edmund Hilary or Tenzing Norgay will feel proud about it.

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