ANG TASHI SHERPA / AFP
According to local NGO Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, there are around three tonnes of human excrement between Camp 1, at the foot of Everest, and Camp 4, the last before the summit.
UNUSUAL – “A pickaxe and a bag of droppings.” The victorious climbers of Everest, the highest peak in the world, will now descend with their excrement in their bags. The Pasang Lhamu municipality, which covers most of the Everest region, has officially banned defecation on the famous mountain. Mountaineers will now have to collect their droppings and transport them in small dedicated bags.
“Our mountains are starting to smell bad,” explained to the BBC Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Pasang Lhamu Municipality. “We receive complaints that human feces are visible on the rocks and some climbers are falling ill. This is unacceptable and harms our image,” he continues.
And for good reason: due to the extreme temperatures, the excrement left on Everest does not completely degrade. At the base camp where climbers acclimatize to the altitude, separate tents serve as toilets, but when you climb to the summit, you have to do your business in the open air. It is usually advisable to bury your excrement, but in some places, which are very rocky and have little snow, this is impossible.
8,000 waste bags ordered for next season
According to the NGO Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), there are around three tonnes of human excrement between Camp 1, at the foot of Everest, and Camp 4, the last before the summit. “Half of three tons would be at South Col, also known as Camp Four”Chhiring Sherpa, director of the association, told the BBC.
This South Col has a reputation as an “open-air toilet,” adds Stephan Keck, an international mountain guide who organizes expeditions to Everest. “There is hardly any ice or snow, so you will see human feces all around,” he describes.
With the approval of Pasang Lhamu Municipality, SPCC ordered around 8,000 poop bags from the United States. These are specific models, which contain chemicals and powders that solidify human excrement and make it virtually odorless. They will be distributed to mountaineers at the opening of the next season, in March. This experimental project could then be extended to neighboring mountains.
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