Pune: City mountaineers are worrying over the rising amount of garbage on Mt Everest which is not only threatening the environment on the highest peak but also polluting the source of many glaciers and rivers that flow down in India. Recently, Pemba Dorje Sherpa who had climbed Mt Everest 18 times said that the area is rapidly becoming a dumping ground of empty oxygen cylinders, broken tents, empty food packets and many other things.
Despite a campaign by Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) for the climbers to bring back the garbage and receive a cash prize, it has failed to appeal many. Prasanna Joshi, Vice-President of city-based mountaineering group Girivihar, said, “Glaciers are the open source of rivers, and if they are polluted at the source then the whole water diversity will be directly affected. It would be a very grim situation as it will give rise to various types of diseases.”
“Though each and every climber is aware of the ‘leave-no-trace’ principal taught during the courses, the real mountain lover would never think of polluting the mountains and nature. Climbing Mt Everest has become a commercial thing nowadays as 70 per cent of the people who are visiting the peak do so out of fascination to capture fame. This way the human tendency has changed and the people are only worried about their fame and not about the mountains,” Joshi said.
After the fact that tons of garbage have been accumulated on Mt Everest, Umesh Zirpe, Founder Head of a mountaineering club, Giripremi, said, “A maximum of the garbage is found near Camp 3 and Camp 4. These two camps are situated in the ‘Dead Zone’ and are not accessible to the Sherpa staffs to clean it.
Moreover, the troops that are going for the expedition have also increased as it includes climbers, Sherpa staff along with their cooking staff and photographers. So as the number is growing, human waste, too, is increasing.”
Zirpe further added, “The human waste mainly includes packed tins, torn tents, empty oxygen cylinders, cooking leftovers and many more. All such wastes are supposed to be checked at the SPCC check post that the same quantity of waste is returned back which is carried to the way of Mt Everest. Moreover, the Nepal government has mentioned that the climbers have to submit 11,000 American dollars as ‘garbage deposit’ but still the waste generated in the upper-level camps are not submitted regularly by the climbers.”
Meanwhile, foreigners are more in numbers to take up the expedition at Mt Everest, said Zirpe and Joshi.
Interestingly, the time when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first climbed Mt Everest, it was known to be the loneliest place on the Earth, but the present situation has completely changed as almost every wealthy person is able to climb the peak and many are attempting to do so during the two-month climbing season each spring (March-April).