Litterbugs On Mount Everest Will Face Legal Action If They Don't Pick Up Their Trash, Nepal Rules
Reality check: Mount Everest, the highest place on Earth, is also the world's highest garbage dump. An estimated 50 tons of garbage sits atop Mount Everest, with sympathetic climbers managing to hoist down four tons back down last year. Now, the Nepalese government is finally taking action to deal with the mess, instating a new system to ensure Everest climbers return carrying their trash instead of leaving it on the snowy peaks. If they don't comply, the climbers will face legal action.
Basically, as if climbing Mount Everest wasn't stressful enough, adventurers now face the prospect of legal action if they litter on the mountain.
Fortunately, despite reports suggesting otherwise, adventurers will not have to clean up their fellow climbers' leftovers. Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti, head of the mountaineering department at Nepal's Tourism Ministry, told the Associated Press: "We are not asking climbers to search and pick up trash left by someone else. We just want them to bring back what they took up."
Still, the requirement for each climber to bring at least 18 pounds back down to Everest base camp may, theoretically, force climbers to tidy up areas that are not their mess.
Mount Everest stands at nearly 30,000 feet, and was first scaled in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay. It has some gross stuff on its trails, including empty oxygen tanks, piles of frozen poop, and about 240 dead bodies that haven't decomposed in the cold. (Eeeek!) Still, none of that has deterred the estimated 4,000 adventure-seekers who have climbed Everest.
And although Everest has become more accessible (and crowded) in recent years, now boasting a mere one percent death rate, the trek is still dangerous. The majestic mountain's garbage problem has been building over the past few years, according to the National Geographic:
The two standard routes, the Northeast Ridge and the Southeast Ridge, are not only dangerously crowded but also disgustingly polluted, with garbage leaking out of the glaciers and pyramids of human excrement befouling the high camps.
Last year, around 800 mountaineers attempted to make the journey to Everest's peak. The Nepalese government doesn't have much control over what happens on the frozen trails, and private trekking companies cater to adventure-seeking tourists.
The country relies on the mountain to bring in about $3.3 million each year in climbing fees alone, and plans on cutting climbing fees from an average of $25,000 to $11,000 to attract even more people. All of whom will have to promise not to litter.