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article imageMt. Everest climbers told to bring their garbage back down

By Karen Graham     Mar 4, 2014 in World
It will be 61 years in May since the first successful attempt at reaching the summit of Mt. Everest was made. Since that time, 3,500 people have succeeded in duplicating the feat of Sir Edmund Hillary and his Nepalese Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay.
Future Mount Everest climbers are now going to be confronted by a new law introduced by the Nepalese government, according to The Hindu. Climbers will be required to carry back at least eight kilograms of rubbish with them when coming down the mountain.
Madhusudan Burlakoti, an official with the Nepal Tourism Ministry said that starting with the April climbing season, the law will go into effect, and anyone trying to flout the law will be penalized. Rubbish will have to be turned in to the government office at Base Camp on a climbers return.
Digital photograph of Mount Everest taken at an elevation of 5 300 meter from Gokyo Ri  Khumbu  Nepa...
Digital photograph of Mount Everest taken at an elevation of 5,300 meter from Gokyo Ri, Khumbu, Nepal on Nov.5, 2012.
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, reaching 29,029 feet into the clouds. Tibetans called Everest "Chomolungma" for centuries, until the great mountain was given its official English name, Mount Everest, by the Royal Geographical Society. At that time, Nepal and Tibet were closed to foreigners, and no one was able to find out the local name used for the mountain.
Since that first successful attempt at reaching the summit of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and his guide, Tenzing Norgay on May 29, 1953, around 35 expeditions annually make the attempt at reaching the top of the world. In their wake, they have left tons, not pounds, of rubbish and tons of human excrement.
Apa Sherpa a long-time Everest guide and climber, is given credit for organizing an expedition that removed 8,800 pounds of rubbish from the lower part of Everest, and another 2,200 pounds of rubbish from higher parts of the mountain in May of 2011. At that time, he told AFP News "If my ascent promotes the cause and helps to protect the mountain, I am always ready to climb."
Mr. Sherpa was also concerned with the changes seen in the Himalayan peaks from the effects of global warming. There has been degradation of the mountain, not only with rubbish, but from the many expeditions attempted in reaching the summit. Where ice and snow once covered the two main trails, there is now exposed rocks. Melting ice has also exposed deep crevasses, making it extremely dangerous for climbers.
Saudi expedition making ascent on Mt. Everest May 21  2008.
Saudi expedition making ascent on Mt. Everest May 21, 2008.
But garbage and excrement can be measured in the tons, many tons that litter the trails. At least 13 tons of garbage are collected annually by the Eco Everest Expedition. The rubbish includes torn tents, used oxygen bottles and a huge amount of human waste. This does not include the number of corpses that still littler the mountain. Of the 240 climbers who died attempting to reach the summit, most are still there, someplace in the "Death Zone," that starts at 26,000 feet.
Mark Jenkins, a writer for National Geographic, said "You can't necessarily blame the climbers, especially inexperienced ones, for their littering habit. Even under the best conditions, climbing the tallest mountain in the world is exhausting, dangerous work. Dropping used supplies on the mountain rather than carrying it with them can save vital energy and weight... But the accumulated trash is still steadily ruining one of the most unique places on Earth."
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