Nepal launches campaign to “Save Everest”

The Nepal Tourism Board has joined forces with the Everest Summiteers Association (ESA) and Eco Himal to launch the “Save Mt. Everest Campaign,” a project which is designed to clean up the world’s tallest mountain, and the Khumbu Valley where it resides, by June of 2012.

Everest has always held a certain appeal with climbers and the general public alike, and over the past few decades, more and more adventure travelers have made the journey to visit that natural wonder. As a result, the mountain, and the communities in the region surrounding it, have seen an increase in trash and solid waste to the point that it has become a major problem. Most of the poor villages in Nepal don’t have a safe, ecologically sound method of dealing with those issues. This campaign hopes to change that.

Over the course of the next year, organizers of the Save Mt. Everest Campaign hope to remove as much as eight tons of garbage from the mountain itself, as well as along the trekking route between Lukla and Everest Base Camp. They also hope to build 15 waste management plants, and train 100 individuals living in the Khumbu region to staff those facilities. The Nepali Ministry of Environment and Science says that it will also issue new guidelines for climbing and trekking expeditions in the Everest region as well. Those guidelines will be specifically designed to reduce the amount of waste that is generated by the visitors to Everest.

Having visited the Khumbu just last year, and made the trek to Everest Base Camp myself, I can tell you that garbage and other waste can be a serious problem there. I was surprised to see that they still sold bottled water, as I think it would be more ecologically friendly to require visitors to bring their own reusable bottles or hydration packs. This new program hopes to make those kinds of changes and have a positive impact on an environment that is amongst the most spectacularly beautiful on the planet. Lets hope they’re successful.