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Business News/ News / World/  Mount Everest 'stinking' with poop? Climbers may be asked to bring back poo in bags

Mount Everest 'stinking' with poop? Climbers may be asked to bring back poo in bags

It has been reported that there are around three tonnes of human excrement between camp one at the bottom of Everest and camp four, towards the summit.

This picture taken on May 23, 2010 shows a Nepalese sherpa collecting garbage, left by climbers, at an altitude of 8,000 metres during the Everest clean-up expedition at Mount Everest.

The Pasang Lhamu rural municipality in Nepal reportedly introduced a new rule — "people climbing Mount Everest will now have to clear up their own poop and bring it back to base camp to be disposed of".

According to a BBC report, the new rule is part of wider measures being implemented by the Pasang Lhamu rural municipality which covers most of the Everest region.

"We will run a contact office and make sure our new measures, including making climbers bring back their excrement, are implemented," Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, told the BBC.

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'Mountains have begun to stink'

"Our mountains have begun to stink...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 said.

Keeping this view, authorities said people trying to climb Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak and nearby Mount Lhotse will be ordered to buy so-called poo bags at base camp, which will be "checked upon their return".

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Where do mountaineers poop?

During the journey, separate tents are erected as toilets, with barrels underneath collecting human excrement. However, the situation grows difficult as climbers move up the mountain.

According to the BBC, many climbers and support staff tend to dig a hole. "But the higher you go up the mountain, some locations have less snow, so you have to go to the toilet out in the open," it added.

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The poop issue

There are very few people who bring their "excrement back in biodegradable bags".

Moreover, despite the increasing number of clean-up campaigns, this "Waste remains a major issue" on Everest. The issue is more prominent "in higher up camps where you can't reach," Chhiring Sherpa, Chief Executive Officer of the non-government organisation Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), was quoted as saying.

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How much human waste is there on Everest?

Chhiring Sherpa's organisation estimates that there are around three tonnes of human excrement between camp one at the bottom of Everest and camp four, towards the summit. However, there are no official figures released yet.

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

Meanwhile, Stephan Keck, an international mountain guide who also organises expeditions to Everest, said, "There is hardly any ice and snow, so you will see human stools all around" at South Col.

Also Read: World's highest weather station rebuilt on Mount Everest

All about the 'poo bags'

The BBC reported the SPCC will be procuring around 8,000 poo bags from the US, for around 400 foreign climbers and 800 support staff for the upcoming climbing season which begins in March.

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

ALSO READ: The first Indians on Everest

Mingma Sherpa, the first Nepali to have climbed all 14 mountains above 8,000 metres, said mountaineers have been using such bags on Mount Denali and in the Antarctic. "That is why we have been advocating for it," Mingma was quoted as saying.

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