Tibet Sports Bureau Promotes Clean-up Campaign on Mount Everest
2018-06-26
According to recent reports, the Tibet Sports Bureau, the promoter of all sports and major sporting events in Tibet, has established an “Environmental Protection Squad” to try and tackle the huge issue of garbage that has been left on the slopes of the world’s highest mountain over the past 60+ years.

At the Everest Base Camp in Tibet
 
According to the director of the Tibet Sports Bureau, Nyima Tsering, it is the area below 6,500 meters that is the worst affected, with most of the mountaineering activity and training happening at those altitudes.
 
A haul of oxygen containers from one trip by volunteers demonstrates the huge scale of dumping trash on Everest

Despite having teams of volunteers to help with cleaning up the rubbish that lies on the slopes of the mountain, there are not enough to cope with the huge amount of waste that has been left by mountaineers over the decades. They also need to carry several oxygen tanks with them to do the work properly at the high altitudes, which restricts how much rubbish they can carry down with them.
 
Volunteers collect the trash and bring it to small sites like this for sorting

Now, there is a cleanup mechanism in place to aid the volunteers in clearing the trash, Tsering said. Local herders are being employed to collect the rubbish at altitudes below 6,500 meters, while professional mountaineers and guides are expected to do the clearing at higher altitudes. All mountaineers and guides climbing the mountain, to whatever altitude, are required to collect at least 8kg of trash to bring down from the mountain with them. Once collected, the trash is sorted and delivered to the management bureau for the Qomolangma Nature Reserve for disposal.

Volunteers sorting the trash that has been brought down from the mountain
 
People like Dhondup, a doctor in one of the villages at the foot of the mountain, are regularly used to clear rubbish during the mountaineering season, when they can safely get up the mountain. Dhondup is also the person in charge of the sorting and transportation of the rubbish. Each time he climbs the mountain, usually evert three days, he will become a rubbish collector, and bring down more than ten kilos of rubbish each time. At 31 years old, Dhondup does not think that collecting the trash while on the mountain anyway is in any way too physically demanding.

A small collection of the trash that one man picked up on Everest in the course of one week of climbing
 
This year, the bureau has made a start on renovating the latrines on the mountain and is installing simple storage tanks for easier transportation of the waste for proper disposal.  They have also stepped up their efforts by using social forces in aiding their cause. For the first time in China, a fund will be used to get help from entrepreneurs and charities, and the Tibet Himalaya Mountain Environmental Protection Fund has been set up by the bureau.

Local herder cleaning the trash on Mount Everest
 
The Fund passed the approval of the Chinese authorities in early March of this year, and it is designed to help protect the Himalayan environment and inspire the local farmers and herders to get more involved in the cleanup campaign while allowing them to make money through the environmental protection schemes. Mountaineering on Mount Everest is also set to be more strictly controlled, and when this year’s mountaineering season ends, hikers will no longer be allowed to reach the 6,500-meter mark, and tourists will not be allowed higher than 5,200 meters, the elevation of Everest Base Camp.
TAG: Tibet Eco-friendly Campaign

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