For sustainable society


Single-use plastics banned in the Everest region

Some people call Mount Everest, which is 8,850m above sea level, “the world’s highest rubbish dump” in recent years. Everest climbers recently have increased rapidly, and the garbage issue is getting worse. On the climbing trail, discarded fluorescent-colored tents, climbing equipment, empty gas cylinders, and human excrements can be seen. In addition, Everest’s snow has been melting due to the recent global warming, and garbage, that has been accumulated since 66 years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay successfully climbed Mount Everest for the first time in human history, came to be exposed.

In order to solve the garbage issue getting worse every year, the Nepalese authorities banned the use of single-use plastic products, such as single-use plastic bottles, on August 15 in Solukhumbu district, Nepal. It is aiming for reducing the amount of garbage generated by climbers and tourists.

The target plastic products are plastic bottles under 0.03-millimeter thick and plastic bags and packaging containers. Bringing plastic water bottles is allowed. Using, bringing and selling them is banned on Everest and in the villages surrounding it. It will apply not only to climbers and tourists but also to residents. The local government plans to distribute five bags made from alternative materials free of charge to residents who are affected by the regulations.

While working on it, they are also making efforts to reduce garbage. A campaign has been implemented to help climbers collect garbage since April this year, and over 24,000 pounds (about 10 tons) of garbage has been collected so far. The Nepalese government is also removing garbage in the Everest region, but hundreds of thousands of dollars as removal costs are placing a heavy burden on the government.

The government is also considering the restriction of climbing if the garbage continues to increase. It’s time for climbers to seriously consider their attitude on climbing.