Waste scattered on the slope of Everest in this file photo. Photo: AFP/Rss
KATHMANDU, April 21: As part of the mega campaign to clean up Mt Everest, a team of experienced Sherpas are being mobilized to remove dead bodies and waste piled above the base camp of the worlds’ highest mountain.
Twelve Sherpas hired by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee are setting up their camp at the Everest Base Camp within Thursday for the task. Concerned with the reports of dead bodies emerging from ice with the melting of snow and the route to Everest getting polluted in the recent years, the government has initiated this mega clean-up campaign with the help of the Sherpas.
This is the first time that the government, private sector and organizations working for the welfare of the mountaineering community initiated this kind of campaign.
Nepal Army, which is mandated to collect the waste below the Everest Base Camp, has already started its clean-up campaign from April 14. As of now, the army has lifted two tons of non bio-degradable waste from the region.
“The campaign to remove waste matter and dead bodies above the Everest Base Camp will begin shortly after the Sherpas set up their camps there on Thursday,” said Dandu Raj Ghimire, director general of the Department of Tourism Management.
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 among others.
“Several organizations have allocated budget to make the clean-up campaign a success,” said Ghimire, adding, “We want to remove waste and dead bodies from Everest.”
The department expects to raise around Rs 20 million from various organizations for the campaign. A private company Coca-Cola and an international charity organization World Wildlife Fund have also pledged their support for the clean-up campaign.
Once Sherpas locate the dead bodies which have emerged from ice due to the fast melting snow, army helicopters will be used to bring them along with other waste materials down to the base camp.
A total of 297 climbers have died on Everest since 1992, the year when the expedition started. Of the total deceased, 186 died on the southern slopes of the mountain in Nepal whereas the remaining climbers died while attempting to summit the highest peak from the northern side in China.
It is not clear how many of those dead bodies are still in Everest. Expedition companies try their best to bring the dead bodies down on their own. But they give up their quest if bringing the dead bodies is not possible in one or two attempts.
Both foreign climbers and Sherpa have been complaining that the dead bodies are emerging from ice due to the effect of global warming. The emergence of dead bodies from ice, according to the climbers, haunts them while struggling to walk in the thin air.