Nepali authorities announce measure for Mount Everest climbers to fix 'poop' problem

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 12 Feb 2024, 03:28 am Print

Nepali authorities announce measure for Mount Everest climbers to fix 'poop' problem Everest

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Nepali authorities have directed climbers that they need to clear up their poo and bring it back to the base camp when they scale Mount Everest next time.

Authorities announced the new measures after the human excreta left behind by climbers is making mountains stink.

"Our mountains have begun to stink," Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, told the BBC.

"We are getting complaints that human stools are visible on rocks and some climbers are falling sick. This is not acceptable and erodes our image," Mingma told the British media.

New measure announced

Nepali authorities announced that climbers will need to buy poo bags when they attempt to climb Mount Everest or nearby Mount Lhotse.

Where does a climber poop when they climb Mount Everest?

Mountaineers spend a major portion of their climbing session at the base camp where they acclimatise to the altitude.

At the camps, separate tents are erected which are used as toilets. Barrels are kept in the camps to collect human excreta.

However, the situation changes for them once they start climbing the mountain.

Most of the climbers and their support staff dig a hole for the act as they go up the mountain.

However, they need to perform their task in the open at various sites where the snow is less.

Rubbish remains a huge issue on Everest and other mountains in the region, although there has been an increasing number of clean-up campaigns, including an annual one led by the Nepali Army, reported BBC.

Chhiring Sherpa, Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organisation Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) said waste remains a major issue in the higher camps.

"Half of that is believed to be in South Col, also known as camp four," Chhiring told BBC.

Stephan Keck, an international mountain guide who also organises expeditions to Everest, told the British media that South Col has gained a reputation as an "open toilet".

"There is hardly any ice and snow, so you will see human stools all around," Keck says.

Why South Col is important?

South Col acts as the base for climbers when they attempt to climb Everest and Lhotse summits. It is 7,906 metres (25,938 feet) high.

What is the speciality of the poo bags?

Pasang Lhamu rural municipality and the SPCC are planning to procure 8,000 poo bags from the US for an estimated 400 foreign climbers and 800 support staff for the upcoming season.

These poo bags contain chemicals and powders that solidify human excrement and make it largely odourless, reported BBC.

According to reports, a climber is thought to produce 250 grams of excrement per day.

During their attempt, they usually spend two weeks on the higher camps.

"With that as the basis, we plan to give them two bags, each of which they can use five to six times," Chhiring told British media.