China launches 1st clean-up campaign across Mt Everest region

Beijing: For the first time, China has launched a huge clean-up campaign across the high-altitude area of Mount Everest to remove the waste and debris left by hikers at campsites.

The nine-day clean-up campaign by Tibet Autonomous Region across the world’s highest mountain, also known as Mount Qomolangma in local language, began on May 6.

The campsites in question are at altitudes between 5,200 meters and 6,500 meters on the north side of 8,848 meters tall Mount Everest.

Nyima Cering, deputy director of Tibet sports administration, said this was the first time that the administration had worked with Tingri County government, Xigaze Prefecture, on such a campaign.

Cering said that heightened human activity had left unacceptable levels of garbage on the “Roof of the World”.

The “Roof of the World” term is used for describing the mountainous interior of Asia region, for the Pamirs, the Himalayas, Tibet and Mount Everest.

Cering said the official team, joined by Chinese and foreign volunteers, had collected four tonnes of trash in the first five days, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today.

He said the Tibet government planned to install sorting, recycling and degradation stations at the camping areas.

About 60,000 people visit the north face of Mount Everest every year.

They leave tin cans, plastic bags, stove equipment, discarded tents, oxygen tanks and mountain climbing paraphernalia.

Kari Kobler, president of Swiss firm Kobler, was one of the volunteers.

“I have climbed the mountain many times over the past 17 years,” said the 62-year-old climbing enthusiast.

Cering said the Tibetan government had been exploring waste disposal systems that would be suitable for the high- altitude.