Cleanup drive on Mt. Sagarmatha:  Strict monitoring mechanism needed

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Four dead bodies and the rubbish left behind by the climbers in the high camps have also been reportedly collected during the campaign.  It was a joint campaign  run by the Nepal Army, government departments, Nepal Mountaineering Association, Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality and Sagarmatha Buffer Zone.  The campaign took almost a month reaching to Camp IV from the Base Camp. Most waste, 6,000 kg,  was collected from the Base Camp while the remaining 4,000 kg was collected from Camp I to Camp IV. The team spent 23 million for the cleanup drive costing NRs 2300/ per kg waste. The climbers and Sherpas say that there is a huge amount of garbage still hidden all over Mt Sagarmatha and other high mountains since the issue of garbage remained neglected for over six decades of mountaineering. month-long cleaning campaign on the world’s highest mountain  Sagarmatha, 8848m, has concluded collecting over 10,000 kilograms of rubbish from Mt Sagarmatha region. According to Ang Dorje Sherpa, Chairman at the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, the Mt Sagarmatha  clean-up drive was conducted in coordination with the Nepal Army, and non-government agencies.

This was the first time initiative was taken to collect garbage from Mt. Sagarmatha. People associated with expedition and conservation have appreciated the initiative but this sort of clean up drive is not enough to keep mountains clean. There are some rules set with regard to garbage management for expedition teams to follow, however, there is a glaring gap on following up,  monitoring,  supervision, and reporting on the part of the government. Thus far, the government is resting on the lap of a supposedly NGO called Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee. It’s a good idea to engage NGOs and local bodies but given the importance of the activity, the government should entrust the job to Nepal Army to lead. The strict follow up of garbage management with the expedition companies, service providers and the expedition team members is a must. The garbage management issue should be dealt as one for the whole mountain peaks and region. However, owing to the large crowd in Sagarmatha and the region, more focus, for now, is needed to clean the garbage piled up there for over six decades. Focusing on royalty collection and forgetting the rest shouldn’t be the case anymore.

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