Mount Everest’s Mountain of Poop Poses Health and Environmental Risk

by
Jessica Renae Buxbaum
Piles of human waste left behind by climbers is polluting Mount Everest.

Mount Everest

A mountain of human waste left behind by Mount Everest’s climbers is a severe issue threatening pollution and spread of disease on the world’s tallest peak, the Associated Press reported.

More than 700 climbers and guides each season leave large amounts of feces and urine on the slope that has been piling up for years. The Nepalese government is ignoring this crucial health hazard.

The four camps set up between the base camp and summit do not have toilets. Typically climbers dig holes and bury the waste in the snow, but that solution is not properly taking care of the issue. Chief of Nepal’s Mountaineering Association wants the government to encourage climbers to dispose of the waste properly so the mountain can remain clean and safe. In an attempt to be more sanitary, some climbers bring disposable toilet bags to use during the hike up. Last year the government established rules that required each climber to bring down 18 pounds of trash from the mountain – the estimated amount of trash a climber disposes of along the journey up Everest. This season, officials will monitor garbage on the mountain requiring all climbers to put down a $4,000 deposit that will not be returned to them if they do not comply with the rules.

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