Everest Base Camp, Nepal: The number of climbers has soared over the past two decades.

The growing number of visitors to Mount Everest is turning the planet's highest peak into the world's highest rubbish dump.  
Discarded camping and climbing gear, including tents and gas canisters, and human waste litter the route to the summit of the 8848-meter peak, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported. 
"It's disgusting, an eyesore," Pemba Dorje Sherpa, who has summited Everest 18 times, told AFP. "The mountain is carrying tonnes of waste."
The issue has become even more acute as the number of climbers, many of whom spend thousands of dollars to visit, has soared over the past two decades. This year alone, at least 600 people have climbed the Himalayan mountain and it can cost between US$20,000 (NZ$29,000) and US$100,000 (NZ$145,000). 
Glaciers melting due to global warming are exposing rubbish that has accumulated since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summited Everest in 1953.
Both Nepal and Tibet have made efforts to address the issue. 
For the past five years, teams on the Nepali side of the mountain have had to pay a US$4000 deposit, which is refunded if each climber brings back at least eight kilogrammes of rubbish. 
In Tibet, climbers are required to bring down the same amount and are fined US$100 per kg if they don't. 
According to the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), climbers in Nepal brought down nearly 25,000kg of rubbish in  2017 and 15,000kg of human waste. 
Even more, has been brought down this year, but only half of the climbers carry down the required amounts, SPCC said. 
Pemba said high camps need to be better monitored, noting that some officials accept bribes to turn a blind eye to littering. 
Damian Benegas, who has been climbing Everest for more than 20 years with his twin brother Willie, said the rising number of inexperienced climbers on the mountain is making things worse. 
Experienced climbers typically carry their own clothes, food, sleeping bag and oxygen but many inexperienced climbers can't manage this, leaving the sherpas to carry everything. 
"They have to carry the client's gear so they are unable to carry down rubbish," he told AFP. 
US engineer Gary Porter said his team is looking at installing a biogas plant near base camp that would turn human waste into fertiliser. 
However, Ang Tsering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, believes the government needs to do more to motivate climbers to clean up after themselves and enforce the rules more strictly. 


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