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Does Mount Everest ‘stink’? Climbers may be asked to bring poop in bags


The Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality in Nepal has reportedly introduced a new rule: “people climbing Mount Everest will now have to clean up their own feces and bring it to the base camp for disposal.”

According to a BBC reportThe new rule is part of broader measures being implemented by the Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, which covers most of the Everest region.

“We will run a contact office and ensure that our new measures are implemented, including forcing climbers to bring their excrement,” Mingma Sherpa, president of Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, told the BBC.

READ ALSO: Mount Everest’s tallest glacier is shrinking dramatically; lost 180 feet of thickness in 25 years: study

‘The mountains have started to stink’

“Our mountains have started to stink… We receive complaints that human feces are seen on the rocks and that some climbers are getting sick. This is not acceptable and erodes our image,” Mingma said.

Maintaining this view, authorities said that people attempting to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, and nearby Mount Lhotse, will be ordered to buy so-called poop bags at base camp, which will be “checked her return”.

READ ALSO: Nepalese Sherpa scales Everest for record 28th time as death toll this year rises to 11

Where do mountaineers poop?

During the journey, separate tents are erected as toilets, and barrels collecting human excrement are placed underneath. However, the situation becomes more difficult as the climbers ascend the mountain.

According to the BBC, many climbers and support staff tend to dig a hole. “But the higher you go up the mountain, in some places there is less snow, so you have to go to the bathroom outdoors,” he adds.

READ ALSO: Why did the height of Mount Everest change? 5 things you should know

The poop issue

Very few people bring their “excrement in biodegradable bags.”

Furthermore, despite the increasing number of cleanup campaigns, this “debris remains a major problem” on Everest. The problem is more prominent “in the higher fields, where you can’t reach it,” said Chhiring Sherpa, executive director of the non-governmental organization Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC).

READ ALSO: How Mount Everest was mapped a hundred years ago

How much human waste is there on Everest?

The Chhiring Sherpa organization estimates that there are about three tons of human excrement between camp one, at the foot of Everest, and camp four, towards the summit. However, there are no official figures published yet.

“Half of it is believed to be on South Col, also known as field four,” Chhiring said.

Meanwhile, Stephan Keck, an international mountain guide who also organizes Everest expeditions, said: “There’s hardly any ice or snow, so you’ll see human stools everywhere” on the South Col.

Also read: The highest weather station in the world is being rebuilt on Mount Everest

All about ‘poop bags’

The BBC reported that the SPCC will procure around 8,000 poop bags from the US for around 400 foreign climbers and 800 support staff for the next climbing season starting in March.

These poop bags contain chemicals and powders that solidify human waste and make it largely odorless.

READ ALSO: The first Indians on Everest

Mingma Sherpa, the first Nepalese to climb all 14 mountains above 8,000 metres, said climbers have been using such bags on Mount Denali and in Antarctica. “That’s why we’ve been advocating for it,” Mingma said.

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