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8.5 tonnes of Everest garbage

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Rubbish collected at Everest base camp with the Himalayan range seen at the background in Nepal, May 03, 2011. REUTERS/Laurence Tan

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has retrieved 8.5 tonnes of waste from Mount Everest since April as it clears garbage left by growing numbers of visitors, the state-run Global Times said.

Enthusiasts from all over the world who flock to the world’s tallest mountain, at a height of 8,850 metres (29,035ft) between Tibet and Nepal, discard tonnes of trash each year.

A team of 30 people cleared about 5.2 tonnes of household waste, 2.3 tonnes of human faeces, and one tonne of mountaineering trash in the cleanup by Tibetan mountaineering officials, the paper said.

The work is almost as demanding as tackling the summit, say climbers, since collection is a strenuous task that boosts the consumption of oxygen people need to breathe.

During last year’s climbing season, which usually runs from March until May, 202 climbers summitted from the Tibetan side, versus 446 from the Nepali side, while thousands of tourists visited base camps on both sides.

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