An expedition organized by the French NGO Montagne et Partage spent 38 days on the Everest collecting more than five tons of garbage, including gas bottles, ropes, tents, canned goods and all kinds of plastic.
With the expedition, which took place on the Nepalese side of the world’s highest mountain, this humanitarian association aims to draw attention to the total absence of waste management in the great mountains of Nepal and more widely throughout the country where, despite a population Of almost 30 million people, there is no waste facility.
“5.2 tons of garbage has been collected,” Gérard Clermidy, president of the NGO, told AFP, lamenting the fact that Everest is beginning to be known as “the highest garbage dump in the world.” “We have removed five tons of visible garbage, which has not long been seen, hidden in cracks,” he adds. Two-thirds of the waste collected was at the base camp, at more than 5,300 meters, where, at the height of the climbing season, in May, there are about 2,000 climbers and Sherpas. “We were surprised to find so much garbage in the base camp, where the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (name of Everest in Nepal) clearly does not fulfill its mission.”
Recyclable materials, especially metal (gas bottles, cans, cans, metal ladders), were sent to Kathmandu by helicopter and truck. Other waste, such as ropes, plastics, tarpaulins and paper, has been deposited in the Namche Bazaar village, where there is an incinerator, but said that “it has not worked since the earthquake of 2015 and the clear sky”.
The rest of the garbage was collected in difficult conditions in the intermediate fields, the last of which, at about 8,000 meters altitude. “We had a bad surprise in Field 4, where the expeditions, after reaching the summit, often leave the tents and find them there,” said Clermidy. According to the head of the NGO, everything is failing: climbers who only think about reaching the top of Everest, the agencies that want to reduce costs to the maximum, Sherpas who demand extra money to bring trash and the authorities that do not act.