A Nepal government expedition to clean Mount Everest has found 11,000 kilograms of garbage and four corpses. The two-month-long cleanliness drive on the world’s highest mountain peak found empty oxygen cylinders, tents, plastic bottles, batteries, discarded climbing gear, food waste and human excrement, PTI reported.
“Some of the garbage was handed over to the NGO Blue Waste to Value, which recycles waste products, during a function in Kathmandu in the presence of Nepal Army chief General Purnachandra Thapa on Wednesday, coinciding with the World Environment Day,” Bigyan Dev Pandey, Director at Public Relations Directorate of Nepal Army, said. “We will continue this cleanliness drive next year also under our Safa Himal Campaign.”
About 20 sherpa climbers were involved in the clean-up in April and May. They collected 5,000 kg garbage from several sites above the base camp, and 6,000 kg from areas below, Dandu Raj Ghimire, the director general of the Department of Tourism told Reuters. “Unfortunately, some garbage collected in bags at the South Col could not be brought down due to bad weather,” Ghimire said.
Four bodies recovered
The four bodies, which were exposed by melting snow, were flown to a hospital in Kathmandu. Two of the bodies were identified as those of a Russian climber and a Nepali mountaineer, but the other two are yet to be identified.
More than 300 people have died on Everest since it was first conquered in 1953. This climbing season, between March and May, was among the deadliest as at least 11 people died. Nine mountaineers died on the Nepali side of the Everest in May, while two died on the Tibetan side.
Overcrowding due to a shorter window of suitable weather led to climbers getting stuck in a queue to the summit, which is located over 8,000 metres above the highest base camp on the mountain.
The area has come to be known as the “death zone” because climbers cannot spend more than a few minutes there without a supply of extra oxygen. A record 381 permits costing $11,000 each were issued by Nepal for the climbing season this year, leading to concerns that safety was being compromised for the sake of tourism in recent years.