A video showing garbage piling up at a campsite on Mount Everest has drawn attention on social media.
Everest Today, a portal dedicated to
climbing the mountain, uploaded the clip
on Twitter to highlight the concerning amount of abandoned tents, trash and other plastic waste that have accumulated at Camp IV on the world’s highest peak
Social media users have since called upon climbers and local authorities to address the growing environmental crisis.
“Just cause you like to climb mountains that doesn’t make you an environmental guru,” one commenter
pointed out. “Most do it for the thrill and adrenaline rush, that’s it. As for this mess, it’s the government’s job to have paid workers or volunteers overseeing the maintenance of the climbing area. If they don’t want the task then have a non-profit do it!”
“For some and it seems the many it is so easy and acceptable to just walk away from their equipment, supplies and waste, especially when the various sponsors have paid for it,” another wrote
. “Integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.”
Known as “Sagarmatha” — or “Forehead in the sky” — in Nepal, Mount Everest has become overcrowded with climbers in recent years.
According to estimates by National Geographic, each climber on Everest generates about eight kilograms (approximately 17.6 pounds) of waste, including food containers, tents, empty oxygen tanks and even human feces. Due to the influx of climbers, combined with inadequate waste management practices, the site has turned into the “world’s highest garbage dump.”
After a tiring trek, climbers often abandon heavy tents instead of carrying them back down the mountain. As a result, torn tents, food wrappers and discarded oxygen bottles are left behind in the higher camps.
In 2019, the Chinese government closed down a base camp
due to the growing number of waste and garbage left behind by tourists in the area.
Renowned U.S. mountain guide Garrett Madison, who recently completed his 13th climb of Everest, emphasized the need for better waste management and regulation enforcement.
“We need to find better ways to bring the waste down,” Madison was quoted as saying. “We need better policing to check that every team brings down its garbage.”
Nepal has implemented a mandatory requirement for climbers to bring their waste down from the mountain and reclaim their garbage deposit of $4,000. However, monitoring camps situated nearly 8,000 meters (26,246 feet) high have proven to be challenging, according to local officials and expedition organizers.
Other efforts to address the issue include the collection of 13 tons of garbage from Everest and the nearby Lhotse peak this year, but the scale of the problem remains significant.
Despite the concerns surrounding waste accumulation, Madison expressed optimism about the future of mountaineering in Nepal and praised the country’s potential for developing the sport.