The authorities in China have come up with a way of dealing with rising human waste. They have decided to close down its Everest Base Camp to tourists. By Kumar Shree
The issue of increasing human waste in the mountains and in oceans have always been a major cause of concern. The authorities and other conservationists have highlighted the this time and again. The same seems to have triggered the alarm for authorities in China. The rising and accumulating human waste on the world’s largest mountain have compelled the Chinese authorities to implement a Mount Everest close down for visitors.
The close down will apply to those visitors who do not possess climbing permits. However, the tourists without a permit can still visit the Rongbuk monastery at 17,060 feet (5,200 m) base camp level. Earlier, Mount Everest used to receive maximum number of visitors from the south of Nepal. That seems to have changed as more people from China are also making a visit to the site.
The reason, which has resulted in the change is that the base camp in Tibet (China) is now accessible by car. That makes it a more convenient option as compared to the Nepalese camp. The only way to access the camp in Nepal is via a daunting and demanding hike of two weeks.
According to the reports by Chinese Mountaineering Association, the number of visitors to Mount Everest base camp in 2015 was 40,000. The same increased by a substantial margin and people visiting the camp in 2016-17 rose to 45,000. This increase in number was registered in the data from Nepal’s Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation.
The Mount Everest close down will allow only those mountaineers with a climbing permit to use the higher camps. The authorities in China also declared in January 2019 that only 300 climbers will be allowed climbing permits every year.
All of this has been done keeping in mind that the low temperatures and high altitude on Mount Everest add to the complexity of garbage gathering and cleaning process. The three cleaning drives conducted last spring accumulated eight tonnes of human waste from Mount Everest. The waste also had human excreta and the left-out mountaineering equipment by the climbers.
The cleaning drive to kick start in 2019 will also aim at removing bodies of the climbers in the ‘death zone’ above 8,000 meters of altitude. Their bodies remain untouched and unharmed because of the extreme cold at that height.
We hope that these efforts generate positive results and that Mount Everest close down is revoked soon.