Mt. Qomolangma becomes cleaner but continued effort necessary: stakeholders

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-05 00:37:27|Editor: yan
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KATHMANDU, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Mt. Qomolangma, the world's tallest mountain, has been relatively cleaner after most of the garbage exposed on the south side of the mountain was removed under Mt. Qomolangma Clean-Up Campaign 2019 in this spring season, Nepali officials and stakeholders said.

But they maintained that the clean-up campaign must continue in the upcoming years to keep the mountain clean as garbage submerged by the snow reemerges every year when the snow melts.

According to the Department of Tourism, which coordinated the campaign, around 10,800 kg of garbage was removed from the mountain under the campaign. Four dead bodies were also recovered and brought to Kathmandu.

The bodies are now at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu for forensic test, according to the department.

"All the garbage exposed on the mountain up to camp 3, were removed under this campaign," Dandu Raj Ghimire, director general of the department told Xinhua on Friday.

"But just over 300 kg of garbage out of 711 kg collected on camp 4 (8,300 meters) could be brought down because of bad weather conditions and limited number of climbers working to remove the garbage," said the official.

Eight Sherpas out of a total of 12 members were involved in the clean up drive.

According to Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, a local government in Nepal where the south side of Mt. Qomolangma lies, around 7,000 kg of reusable garbage were sent to capital Kathmandu for effective management.

"The perishable wastages are being burnt down in our own rural municipality," Dim Dorji Sherpa, chairman of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

According to stakeholders, there is plan for handing over garbage brought from Mt. Qomolangma to an organization involved in effective management on Wednesday on the occasion of World Environment Day.

Under the campaign, garbage from Namche area, the town at the heel of the mountain, to Camp 4, also known as South Col, was removed.

For climbers, the clean-up campaign this year has not been as effective as it should have been. "The camp 4 is still too dirty and the campaign team focused more on lower camps only," Kam Rita Sherpa, who broke his own record of most summits on Mt. Qomolangma this year by reaching the top of the mountain for 24 times, told Xinhua last week.

But Ghimire said that some garbage could not be removed as not enough human resources could be mobilized.

Stakeholders said that this year's clean-up campaign should be considered as just a beginning and campaign should continue in the upcoming years.

"We have to remove the remaining garbage on camp 4 and other wastages up from the camp 4," said Tika Ram Gurung, secretary of Nepal Mountaineering Association, a grouping of stakeholders involved in mountaineering. "We have to continue the campaign in the upcoming years to remove the garbage unseen during this campaign."

As the number of mountaineers going for expedition on Mt. Qomolangma has been rising in recent years, the garbage they produce has emerged as a serious environmental challenge.

There have also been calls for sustainable management of garbage on the Mt. Qomolangma. Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality is preparing to introduce stringent rules forcing the expedition members to bring back all the materials they take during the expedition.

"We are going to issue bar-code for each material taken by climbers before they start expedition and we will track whether they returned all the materials," said chairman Sherpa. "Those failing to bring back materials they had taken will face action."