Mount Everest Introduces New Rules To Address Hiking Waste Problem: REPORT

(Photo by NAMGYAL SHERPA / AFP) (Photo by NAMGYAL SHERPA/AFP via Getty Images)

Thomas McGiffin Contributor
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Climbers undertaking the arduous journey to tackle the world’s tallest mountain will now be required by local authorities to collect their poop in waste bags as they make the lengthy trip to the top, the BBC reported earlier in February.

The rule change reportedly came as part of an effort to mend the problem of pollution, including human waste, on the mountain from increasing numbers of climbers. Everest is estimated to have around three tons of human waste on it between camps one and four, with the average climber producing around 250 grams a day, according to the BBC. The waste is reportedly not able to fully decompose due to the low temperatures on the mountain.

“We are getting complaints that human stools are visible on rocks and some climbers are falling sick. This is not acceptable and erodes our image,” Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, told the BBC.

At base camp, where climbers stay to get acclimated to the mountain’s climate, some tents act as toilets with a barrel placed in the ground that can be emptied. However, as they venture up the mountain they must either dig a hole or, if that is not possible, go out in the open, according to the outlet. (RELATED: ‘Blowing Off Steam’: Lawyer Suspended After Allegedly Pooping In Pringles Cans, Tossing Them Into Parking Lot)

To reduce the amount of frozen waste left on the mountainside, climbers will be given two waste bags at base camp. The bags can be used multiple times and are filled with chemicals that help solidify the waste and dampen the odor, the outlet reported. The trip can reportedly take weeks to complete and the climbers would have to lug their waste in bags to the summit and then again back down to base camp.

The precise way in which this requirement would be enforced reportedly is still unclear. It is unclear if the bags will be weighed or not to ensure that the bags were used or not on the trip up the mountain, the Washington Post reported.

The process of stowing away climbers’ waste in bags to preserve a mountain is not a new one; it is done on Mount Denali, the highest peak in the U.S., and Antarctica, the BBC reported.