The largest ever amount of trash was removed from Mount Everest this week, with more than 8 tons of garbage brought down by yak and porter from the world’s highest mountain peak.
A team of 29 Nepali mountaineers spent six weeks clearing trash from Everest in an annual clean-up campaign, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports, citing local media. The team removed oxygen cylinders, tents, ropes, cardboard, climbing equipment and helicopter parts from the mountain.
"Nineteen of us worked above the Everest Base Camp for seven hours or more to bring down waste every day," said Pasang Sherpa, the team leader, DPA reports. "Each one of us carried down a minimum of 30 kilograms of waste."
After collecting the garbage at base camp, 75 yaks and 65 porters transported it to Namche Bazaar, a village that is considered the gateway to the Everest region in Nepal.
The clean up, which continued through April and May, had been delayed by bad weather and fresh snow that covered up the garbage, The Associated Press reports.
Yearly clean ups of Everest began in 2008, but experts say another 50 tons of waste remains on the mountain slopes. Since it was first conquered in 1953, more than 5,000 people have climbed Everest, discarding climbing equipment, including empty oxygen bottles and ropes, along the way.
While Nepal now requires climbers to bring down everything they carry up the mountain, Everest is still littered with debris from past climbs, the AP reports.
There are also dozens of bodies of climbers left on the summit, in the so-called “Death Zone.” Since 1953, 250 people have died while climbing Everest, DPA reports.