The „world’s highest garbage dump“-Everest!

A series of newly-published studies based on a National Geographic expedition to Mount Everest in 2019 provides a shocking picture of how human activity is impacting the highest point from sea level on Earth.

One of the studies even found microplastics just below the summit, at 8,440 meters (approximately 27,690 feet).

„Mt. Everest is somewhere I have always considered remote and pristine,“ University of Plymouth scientist and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Imogen Napper, who was the lead author on the plastics study, told EcoWatch in an email.
„To know we are polluting near the top of the tallest mountain on earth is a real eye-opener – we need to protect and care for our planet.“

Microplastics at the Top of the World

Napper’s study, published in the journal One Earth Friday, found microplastics in every snow sample taken from Mount Everest. The findings join a growing body of research showing the extent of microplastic pollution in even the most remote corners of the planet.

„These are the highest microplastics currently ever discovered,“ Napper told EcoWatch. „Although it sounds exciting, this means that microplastics have been discovered from the depths of the ocean all the way to the highest mountain on earth.“

There has been growing awareness in recent years of the buildup of trash on Mount Everest left behind by tourists and climbers.

In 2019, the Tibet Autonomous Region Sports Bureau said it removed 9.3 tons of waste, and China closed its Everest base camp to tourists to prevent more pollution.

Some media outlets have even begun to refer to the mountain as the „world’s highest garbage dump.“

This picture was taken on May 23, 2010, shows a Nepalese sherpa collecting garbage, left by climbers, at an altitude of 8,000 meters during the Everest clean-up expedition at Mount Everest.  (Photo credit should read NAMGYAL SHERPA/AFP/Getty Images)

However, Napper’s study is the first to focus on the accumulation of microplastics on the mountain specifically. Microplastics are plastics less than five millimeters in length that typically slough off of larger plastics as they degrade. Their small size means they are easily ingested by animals by mistake and are also extremely difficult to clean up.

Napper’s team found more microplastics collected near the base camp, where climbers tend to congregate.

But they still found five microfibers at the mountain’s „balcony,“ the highest point they studied. Those fibers numbered one clear acrylic fiber, one red polyester fiber, and three blue polyester fibers.

In general, many of the microplastics found on Everest were fibers that could have been brought by climbers.

„There are a lot of promising developments in the industry at the moment. We need to keep up the momentum, and ensure that athletic gear is tested and evaluated before use,“ Napper told EcoWatch.

„Solutions need to deliver a positive account, not create a future issue.“ Napper said.


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And I mean… In 2018 alone, China has already collected more than eight tons of garbage from Mount Everest, including more than two tons of human excrement. 30 climbers had laboriously picked up the garbage.

Tibet and Nepal in view of the growing mountains of rubbish are tightening the obligations for tourists

Since 2015, mountaineers in Tibet have had to collect at least eight kilos of rubbish on their way to the summit.
If they come back empty-handed, they have to pay $ 100 per kilogram.

Similar rules also apply in Nepal. There is even a fine of up to $ 4,000.

But if one takes into account that a climb to Mount Everest – according to the magazine “Der Spiegel” – costs up to 100,000 dollars, the fines of a few hundred or thousand dollars are peanuts.

Therefore many accept the penalties instead.

And buy the right to litter and destroy the highest point on earth at 8,848 meters with their abandoned tents, broken climbing equipment, empty oxygen bottles, and their feces.

My best regards to all, Venus


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