Nepal Govt refuses everest clean-up amid COVID-19 lockdown « Khabarhub
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Nepal Govt refuses everest clean-up amid COVID-19 lockdown

11 April 2020  

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KATHMANDU: The government of Nepal has rejected calls to use the pandemic lockdown of Mount Everest to stage a cleanup of the world’s highest mountain. The piles of fluorescent tents, discarded climbing equipment, empty gas canisters and human excrement litter found in the mountains.

“It is not possible this season,” Danduraj Ghimire, chief of Nepal’s tourism department told AFP.

Authorities last month suspended permits for all-mountain expeditions over the coronavirus outbreak, forcing the Nepal army to cancel an ambitious clean-up on six mountains including Everest.

Mountaineering organizations say that the coronavirus crisis is a good opportunity to clean-up what is sometimes called the world’s highest garbage dump.

“The government should let a Nepali team just clean the mountain. Apart from clearing trash, it would give employment to Sherpas who have lost this season’s income,” said Santa Bir Lama, head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

Last year, a 14-strong team spent six weeks scouring for litter at the Everest base camp and at Camp 4 — nearly 8,000 meters up. They cleared the mountain of four bodies and over 10 tonnes of plastic bottles, cans and climbing equipment.

But many said it was just a fraction of Everest’s rubbish — with the harder to reach camps still littered with abandoned gear.

Pasang Nuru Sherpa, who was part of last year’s team, said dragging down the trash, and especially bodies, was difficult as hopeful climbers were going up.

“With the mountain empty our work would be much easier and faster and we would be able to clear a backlog of trash. There will only be more layers on snow on it next time and work will be harder,” Sherpa said.

Foreign climbers pay at least $30,000 to tackle Everest but locals say they pay little attention to their environmental fallout.

Nepal levies a $4,000 rubbish deposit for each team to be refunded if each climber brings back eight kilos (18 pounds) of waste, but only half return with trash.

Only a Chinese team is climbing on the north side this season.

Publish Date : 11 April 2020 16:14 PM

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