On Mount Everest there’s three tons of human poop between Camp 1 and the summit

The non-governmental organisation Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) claims that there is three tons of human excrement on Mount Everest between Camp 1 and the summit. The world’s tallest mountain is a massive toilet and something needs to be done about. SPCC was set up in 1991 to improve waste management on the mountain.

On Mount Everest there's three tons of human poop between Camp 1 and the summit

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A cleanup is on the way. The chief executive officer of the SPCC, Chhiring Sherpa, said that “waste remains a major issue, especially in higher up camps where you can’t reach.”

And the higher up camps are very cold and therefore human excrement does not biodegrade properly. Apparently, it got so bad that some climbers become sick because of its presence.

The SPCC are insisting that climbers who want to reach the top of Everest will have to take ‘poo bags’ with them and they will be checked when they return.

Climbers are asked to remove 8 kg of waste when they descend the mountain. The SPCC plan to distribute 8000 poo bags to climbers in 2024 which chemically treat desiccate and store faecal matter. These bags are already used on other expeditions.

An organisation called Jagged Globe, which organises Everest expeditions is pleased with the initiative. Simon Lowe said: “It’s a good initiative which brings Everest in line with Mount Denali, and Mount Vinson in Antarctica. They been flying all human waste off the continent for 25 years, and Aconcagua.”

These three mountains are the highest summits in North America, Antarctica and South America respectively. They are part of the seven summits challenge.

The Times reports that the Nepal Mountaineering Association advises that climbers use toilets and where they are not available it says: “In snow, a concentration of waste will not decompose so defecate in individual small holes that you can cover with snow after use. Ideally if you find an isolated spot which has little chance of being seen by someone else then defecate on the surface to expose your faeces to the sun.”

Hundreds of aspiring mountaineers will be attempting to climb Mount Everest this spring and in following springs. The approach just mentioned does not work under these conditions.

On the South Col, just below 8000 m, the wind scours the rock. This makes it harder to dig a hole. And mountaineers have less energy to do it.

Steven Keck, a mountain guide, told the BBC that “There is hardly any ice and snow, so you will see human stools all around”.

Lowe is confident that the new rules will prove to be popular and he added that, “I’m sure people will simply comply and, happily, once they got used to the idea – as long as the bags are readily available.”

This website is about the animal to human relationship and animal welfare which is linked to pollution. Ultimately pollution damages the planet and therefore harms wildlife. This is a form of pollution. I don’t know whether any wildlife is harmed by it however.

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My thanks to The Times newspaper (hardcopy) of today Friday 9th February 2024.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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