Mount Everest has long struggled with its status as the “world’s highest rubbish dump” – but now at least some of the huge amount of rubbish left behind by visitors each year will be put to good use.
A new gallery is being opened in Nepal to display works of art made out of rubbish taken from Everest.
It will be housed in Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) Next Centre, a visitors’ centre on the trail to Everest base camp, the gallery will highlight the issue of waste left behind on the mountain.
More than 600 people attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest each year, and each climber discards, on average, 8kg (18lbs) of rubbish consisting of oxygen canisters, tents, food containers and even human waste. That adds up to nearly 5 tonnes each climbing season (March-May).
With a “soft opening” for locals in the spring, the gallery aims to raise awareness of the environmental issues caused by leaving waste behind on Mount Everest, and to raise money for local conservation through the sale of souvenirs.
It is interesting to note that in 2019 that 10 tonnes of rubbish from was removed Mount Everest.
Dandu Raj Ghimire, director general for the Nepal Department of Tourism said, “The clean-up campaign will be continued in the coming seasons to make the world’s tallest mountain clean. It is our responsibility to keep our mountains clean.”
Plans have been mooted to scan and tag visitors’ equipment and gear and instigate a £3,100 deposit, which is only returned if climbers come back with all their original items!