Monday, March 2, 2015

There's Too Much Poop On Mount Everest

Nepal's Chief of Mountaineering, Ang Tshering, has recently said that human waste left by climbers on Mount Everest has become a problem, causing pollution (poo-lution?) and threatening to spread disease on the world’s highest peak. Nearly 700 climbers and guides make the ascent each season and, when they do, they leave all of their feces and urine up there. “Climbers usually dig holes in the snow for their toilet use and leave the human waste there,” Tshering said, adding that the waste has been “piling up” for years around the four camps on Mount Everest. Nepal’s government has not come up with a plan yet to tackle the issue of human waste, but the government imposed new rules last year requiring each climber to bring down to the base camp 18 pounds of trash, which is the amount it estimates a climber discards along the route. Climbers either bring down 18 pounds of trash of forfeit their $4,000 deposit. Guess which one they're probably going to do?

Suffice to say that the feat of climbing Mount Everest has diminished quite a bit since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay's first trek in 1953. It's certainly still a hazardous and hostile environment, but, when you've got hundreds of inexperienced tourists going up there for that all important #TopOfTheWorld selfie, waste management isn't going to be a priority. And Heaven help you if you die up there, because you won't be coming back either. If you're up for some heartbreak, just do an image search for "Everest bodies". We've essentially turned our tallest mountain into a mountain of shit. Organic matter will decompose up there, as there are several varieties of fungus that live happily in the sub-zero temperatures, but that decomposition happens at a snail's pace. Maybe if we just wait it out, global warming will melt all the snow and the shit will come flowing down with everything else in a big shit avalanche. Shitvalance? Shitnado? I think I just wrote Sci-Fi Channel's next disaster movie.

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