KATHMANDU, May 28: Over 10 tons of garbage has been removed from Mt Everest region under a government-initiated mega cleanup campaign named Mount Everest Cleanup Campaign 2019.
The campaign launched in collaboration with private firms and mountaineering organizations had started in April with the aim to removing waste and retrieve bodies of mountaineers that had emerged from under the Everest ice due to rising temperatures in recent years. The campaign will be concluded on June 5.
“So far, Sherpas have removed 10,800 kg of non-degradable waste. We are in the process of airlifting the waste to Kathmandu,” said Danduraj Ghimire, the director general at the Department of Tourism.
Waste removed from the Everest region has been kept at the Everest Base Camp and lower areas including Namche Bazzar.
Apart from the waste, Sherpas deployed by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, one of the partner organizations in the cleanup, retrieved four dead bodies of unidentified climbers from the Everest.
Last week, the bodies were airlifted to Kathmandu for autopsy before handing them over to the family members concerned.
“We plan to bring manage all waste to Kathmandu by June 5, the day when country marks the World Environment Day,” said DG Ghimire.
This was the first time that the government, private sector and organizations working for the welfare of the mountaineering community initiated this kind of mega campaign.
Nepal Army has been mandated to collect the waste below the Everest Base Camp. The army has lifted more than two tons of non bio-degradable waste from the region.
The department under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has coordinated with around a dozen organizations including the SPCC, Nepal Army and Nepal Mountaineering Association for the campaign.