For you mountaineers, your highest dream must be reaching the top of mount Everest. Indeed it is the highest mountain above sea level a human can climb on this planet, granting it a place in every mountaineer’s bucket list.
However, the problem is that even though climbing this mountain is considered as one of the most extreme activity, yet it still attracts too many tourist. Data recorded about 700 people are coming every year to defeat this mountain.
Some of them can reach the top of it proudly, some are forced to go down before reaching the top since climbing mount Everest can be very dangerous without a good preparation. Some people even die there in many occasions.
This is what we are going to talk about in this article. Mount Everest is attracting too much mountaineers, that nowadays it poses a threat to its natural environment. So, how’s the condition?
The view of this majestic mountain is nonsense to be asked about, since it is definitely amazing. The mountain is also naturally one of the most amazing ecosystem on earth, despite having so little variety of native flora and fauna.
In example, a species of moss is found growing at 6,480 meters altitude, making it a plant that can live in highest altitude. While a minute black jumping spider has been found at elevation 6,700 meters, making it the highest permanent resident on earth which can be seen with naked eyes.
However, not so many mountaineers give much attention to this mountain’s natural environment. Most of those climber’s mission is to reach the top and get their names carved in the record, with some beautiful pics maybe.
As mentioned before, this mountain is attracting about 700 tourists every year, and surely they are preparing themselves pretty well to get their names carved in the record. One of the most important preparation is food, since there will be no supermarket up there.
While cooking from raw ingredients is not practical to be done there, carrying canned foods and snacks is a good option. And as you can predict, not all those wraps and cans that goes up comes down again.
Pile Of Trash
But food wraps are not the only garbage left by the climbers, there are so many other things that people are leaving up there. Broken tent frames, used oxygen canisters, and other discarded inorganic climbing equipment can also be found up there.
It makes the mountain to be the world’s highest garbage dump with increasing number of garbage being added day by day. And it doesn’t stop there, people are not only leaving inorganic matters in the mountain but also their organic matters.
What would you do if you are near the top of mount Everest, yet you get sudden urge to go to toilet? Going back down will be inefficient and dangerous, so the only option is to take a dump anywhere near.
It is not a rare thing to happen to the climbers, and indeed taking dump on the spot is the best option. “Climbers usually dig holes in the snow for their toilet use and leave the human waste there,” said Ang Tshering, chief of Nepal’s mountaineering association to The Guardian.
The problem is, although human feces is organic, there is not enough microbes in such high altitude and freezing condition to process it. As the result, the feces will stay there for eternity, frozen and wholly preserved.
Ruining The Image
A study conducted by Grinnell College found that there are about 12 tons of human feces being preserved under the thick snow of mount Everest. While in estimation, there are about 50 tons of garbage people have left all along the hiking route.
“It is a health hazard and the issue needs to be addressed,” said Tshering. But if you think that amount of of garbage and feces has already ruined the image of mount Everest for you, you should think again.
There is something even more unattractive that you might find when you are climbing mount Everest. As we said before, some people even die for their dream to reach the top of mount Everest. So, what happen to the dead bodies?
Just as what happens to human feces up there, the bodies are well-preserved by the lack of presence of microbes. Bringing the bodies up and down the hiking route is also ineffective. Thus, most of those bodies are just being left up there.
Up there, there are at least about 300 bodies being preserved that we cannot do anything to but bringing down them with a great effort. So, if you are climbing the mountain and you pass by some frozen bodies in your way, don’t be too shocked. Those people died reaching their dreams.
What To Do?
Actually, there is an annual clean-up expedition to clean mount Everest from garbage left by the climbers. Led by Dawa Steven Sherpa, since 2008 Annual Eco Everest clean-up expeditions have brought down about 15 tons of rubbish.
A joint Indo-Nepali army expedition in 2013 has also successfully retrieved 4.4 tons of waste. More than half of it was classified as ‘bio-hazardous’ waste that could pose serious threat to climbers or anyone in contact with it.
Not only that, Nepali government also strictly requires each climber of mount Everest to deposit $4,000 that can only be taken back by bringing down at least 8 kilograms of trash and human waste. Thus, in general, efforts to clean up the mountain have been done.
However, the problem is not about cleaning it up, but preventing the visitors to throw away their wastes irresponsibly. “Climbers, guides and the authorities all have to pitch in with some self- and peer regulation. Everyone should feel the duty – and if necessary, the pressure – to keep the mountains clean,” said Michelle Jana Chan, well-known travel journalist in a statement.
We are sorry if we have ruined your images of Mt. Everest with this information. But if climbing this mountain is in your bucket list, don’t forget to keep you journey to the top clean and responsible.