(Image for Representation)
LHASA: Nepal government has rejected call to use the pandemic lockdown to stage a clean-up of the Mt Everest by the mountaineering regulators in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of southwest China.
The China Tibet Mountaineering Team, China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) and local expedition organizer Himalayan Expedition are planning to clean up Mt. Everest, Cho Oyu and Shishapangma during the coming climbing season.
The cleanup campaign of the Himalayan peaks will be carried out by these organizations, according to a statement.
China has suspended all foreign expeditions in TAR during the spring climbing season of 2020 due to the fear of In fear of the global spread of COVID-19.
“We believe it’s a good time to deal with the garbage up on the mountains,” said an official from CTMA, Xinhua reported.
On the north side of Mount Everest in 2019, CTMA staff, Chinese guides and local villagers cleared off more than 13 tons of garbage, which was generally classified into domestic waste and mountaineering garbage under a newly-established sorting system.
The last climbing season also saw a reward system put into use for the first time in TAR. Local villagers who volunteered to transport garbage down would get paid according to the weight of the garbage.
“We will maintain the measures that have been proved effective before,” said the official from CTMA.
However, mountaineering organisations say that the coronavirus crisis is a good opportunity to clean-up what is sometimes called the world’s highest garbage dump.
But, Danduraj Ghimire, chief of Nepal’s tourism department told to AFP, “It is not possible this season.”
“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 Shanta 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.
“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,” Pasang Nuru Sherpa said.
Foreign climbers pay at least $30,000 in Nepal to tackle Everest but locals say they pay little attention to the environmental fallout.
Nepal levies a $4,000 rubbish deposit for each team to be refunded if each climber brings back eight kilos of waste, but only half return with trash.
(With inputs from Agencies)