Magazine article Earth Island Journal

Pack It in, Pack It Out

Magazine article Earth Island Journal

Pack It in, Pack It Out

Article excerpt

Sixty years after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to summit Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain is beginning to resemble a garbage dump.

The Nepalese government is starting to crack down on mountaineers who make the attempt on the famed peak and fail to pack out their trash and feces. In 2014, Nepal instituted a $4,000 garbage disposal deposit among the 300 climbers who tackle the mountain each year, and this year, Nepalese officials say, they will be much tougher on enforcement. Any mountaineer who fails to return from the peak attempt with at least eight kilograms of trash and human waste will forfeit the deposit.

The slopes of the massive mountain are now cluttered with spent oxygen containers, torn tents, broken ladders, and plastic food wrappers. A bigger problem is human waste. In the absence of toilets, climbers must squat in the open or hunker behind rocks. …

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