World’s Highest Garbage Dump
What is Mount Everest? The highest mountain in the world you will answer. Well it is that, but dismayingly, what Mount Everest is now increasingly being known as is The Worlds’ Highest Garbage dump. It is hard to reconcile the image of the pristine, snow covered, wind-swept crags of the mountaineer’s ultimate challenge with that of a rubbish tip, but that is grave concern right now. The roof of the world is filthy dirty people!
When I read the news story about China’s plans to clean up Mt Everest, I realized what problem climbers can pose to the very peaks that they look to conquer. When people climb Everest, they inevitably leave behind climbing equipment, food, plastics, tins, aluminum cans, glass, clothes, papers, tents, specially along the most popular route to the summit—the Southeast Ridge. The trail consists of a base camp at 17,600 feet and four additional camps closer to the summit. Since the first successful expedition, at least 50 tons of trash has accumulated.
Admittedly, collecting litter becomes rather less of a priority when you are struggling for survival at the higher altitudes when your body and brain is severely oxygen deprived and hypothermia a constant threat. Some estimates suggest that there is some 120 tons of litter on Mt Everest!
Apart from litter there is another rather grim leftover of climbing expeditions to Everest: there are about 120 dead bodies of climbers claimed by the mountain who are frozen in eternity somewhere along the slopes of the mountain.
So according to reports, China is now planning to restrict access to the summit to climbers to allow for a clean up by several of their environmental teams. This will clean up at least some of the litter that has accumulated on the Chinese side of the Everest which is in fact the less popular access route. The Nepalese side evidently is even more popular and presumably more littered.
One person, Jeff Clapp had a good idea, to collect some of that litter (oxygen tanks etc) and turn it them into bells such as this picture, bowls and other stuff such as this glitter ball. Great idea I thought, make a statement against the litter which represents our historical negligence of one of the world’s treasures and make some money while you’re at it!