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NatGeo to Set up Weather Stations on Mount Everest

Examination of rock, lake sediment, snow, firn, and ice samples for biological evidence, including eDNA, will add to understanding of the range of life that can survive in extreme environments

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This photograph taken from a helicopter shows an aerial view of Mount Everest in Nepal's Solukhumbu district, some 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, on Nov. 22, 2018. VOA

The National Geographic Society will set up automatic weather stations on Mount Everest as part of its multi-year, partnered initiative to increase understanding of extreme environmental conditions, the media reported on Friday.

According to Nepal government officials involved in issuing permits for the scientific research, NatGeo has been permitted to install five automatic weather stations at different elevations along the climbing route and on the “roof of the world”, reports The Himalayan Times.

It has also been issued permits for on-site meteorological experiments.

Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, Under-Secretary at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said the NatGeo team had already left for the Everest expedition to carry out research on weather, atmospheric conditions and changing climate by placing weather stations in the high altitude areas to gather data for the improvement of large-scale climate and weather models.

“As per their plan, satellite-link technology will share near-real-time information about conditions on the mountain with scientists, regional managers and climbers,” he added.

Mount Everest. Wikimedia

According to NatGeo’s research plan seen by this daily, it is going to carry out a broad scientific assessment of – and expedition to – Mt Everest and the Solukhumbu region, working closely with Nepali partners.

The expedition will collect samples for scientific research on current and historical climate patterns. It will use remotely sensed images to improve mapping of the glacial extent to better understand changing environmental conditions.

To understand the complexities of a high-mountain environment, the team will collect ice core, surface snow and water samples at regular intervals along the climbing route and at or near the summit.

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NatGeo has also partnered with the Department of Geology and the Department of Botany of Tribhuvan University to study the aspects of extremophiles and biology, Prof Bhupa Prasad Dhamala, executive director at the varsity’s Centre for International Relations, said.

“Examination of rock, lake sediment, snow, firn, and ice samples for biological evidence, including eDNA, will add to understanding of the range of life that can survive in extreme environments.” (IANS)

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Nepal Conducts Month-Long Cleaning Campaign to Convert Mount Everest Trash into Treasure

More than 50 people have been involved in Kathmandu-based Blue Waste to Value since 2017, which is a social enterprise dedicated to creating value from waste

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Workers from a recycling company load garbage collected and brought from Mount Everest, in Kathmandu, Nepal, June 5, 2019. VOA

In a bid to save Mount Everest from trash, Nepal conducted a month-long cleaning campaign by collecting over 10,000 kg of rubbish from the region.

The historical mega clean-up campaign coordinated by government and non-government agencies by mobilizing a dedicated Sherpa team from the base camp to four higher camps, not only collected waste but also removed four dead bodies from the roof of the world, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Instead of sending those solid waste to dump in the landfill site near Kathmandy, the items were segregated, processed and recycled as raw materials for various products.

“We segregated the collected materials in different categories like plastic, glass, iron, aluminium and textile. Among 10 tonness of waste received, two tonnes have been recycled while the remaining eight were soil mixed with wrappers and semi-burned items, which could not be recycled,” Nabin Bikash Maharjan, the head of Blue Waste to Value, told Xinhua.

mount everest, nepal
FILE – Mountaineers walk near Camp One of Mount Everest, April 29, 2018, as they prepare to ascend on the south face from Nepal. VOA

More than 50 people have been involved in Kathmandu-based Blue Waste to Value since 2017, which is a social enterprise dedicated to creating value from waste. Besides recycling the waste of the mountain, Maharjan’s team is also working with municipalities, hospitals, hotels and different offices to maximize value from waste by recycling, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and by creating green jobs.

To make the Everest cleanup campaign more effective, the company suggested authorities to set up an initial processing unit in the mountain area itself, so that waste can be segregated immediately and easily managed. Though the company does not recycle the materials itself, it collaborates with another firm called Moware Designs to create up-cycled glass bottle products and to sell them online.

Ujen Wangmo Lepcha from Moware Designs shared that the unique, colourful and artistic glass products are a trend recently for home, offices, restaurants and hotels. They are used as decorative items as a flower vase, candle cover, plates, travel cups, regular drinking glasses or as an accessory.

“Basically these waste products have no value in the market, so we are trying to add value and trying to reduce the waste from landfill. The products are environment-friendly and full of art,” Lepcha told Xinhua.

mount everest, nepal
Since 2008, the company has brought down seven bodies, some dating back to a British expedition in the 1970s. Pixabay

The young entrepreneur said that these products, which range from 350 Nepalese rupees to 2,000 Nepalese rupees ($3 to $18), are bacteria free as they are sterilized. The same glass items have also been a means of livelihood for many local women who shape the trash into trendy designs.

According to Nepal’s regulation, every foreigner needs to pay $11,000 as royalty while a Nepali climber has to pay $710 to scale the 8,848-meter-tall mountain.

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Besides, the government collects garbage deposits from the climbers with a provision of refund after they bring back at least 8 kg of garbage. High altitude guides claimed that piles of trash are still found in the mountain with an adverse impact on health and the environment.

The Nepal Mountaineering Association said the government should come up with a new policy to have a separate fund, which can be used to continue the cleanliness campaign to make the mountaineering industry sustainable. (IANS)