Across China: Environment cleanup underway under Mt Qomolangma

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-29 18:32:13|Editor: Yamei
Video PlayerClose

LHASA, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Dondrup, 30, looks a lot older than his age. Constant exposure to the sun in a low-oxygen environment has left his face leathery and wrinkled.

Founded this year, the Mount Qomolangma environment squad has 30 members. Dondrup is a garbage picker at the base camp of the northern face of Mount Qomolangma, the world's highest peak. In the off-season, he is a doctor in Tosanglin village at the foot of the mountain, but has been working as a janitor during the climbing season for three years.

Most of environment squad are guides or liaison officers from climbers' association. Dondrup is one of only three local people on the team.

The three work from 5,200 meters at base camp to 6,500 meters. A single collection expedition can take eight hours.

"We do a lot of walking. One worker collects only 10 kilograms of garbage each day," he said. Dondrup is paid 4,500 yuan (about 714 U.S. dollars) every month, which is not much compared to villagers working in other sectors.

"I don't do it for money. My family have lived here for generations. It is my job to protect the mountain," he said. "A lot of tourists and climbers come now and leave a lot behind. We must work hard to keep up."

The climbing season starts around the end of March and ends at the end of May on the north face. After the season ends, a cleanup campaign will be carried out in areas above 5,100 meters.

Tibet regional sports bureau gives two garbage sacks to each climbing team. Everyone descending the mountain needs to carry at least eight kilograms of garbage with them. If their garbage weighs less than that amount, they are charged.

Penma Trinley, deputy director of the Tibetan Mountaineering Association, said garbage dumped on the mountain this year is usually taken down the mountain the following year so that the workers are focused on safety rather than garbage.

"Now that we have an environment team, we are much more efficient. We do not wait a year to process the garbage," he said.

Similar cleanup teams are to be set up on Mount Qowowuyag and Mount Shishabangma, also over 8,000 meters, said Penma Trinley.