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Nepalese Government Concludes its Clean-up Drive on the Mount Everest with 11 Tonnes of Trash

Each expedition team has to deposit $4,000, which are refunded if each climber returns with the 8 kg of waste

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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 Nepalese government on Monday concluded its clean-up drive of the Mount Everest and said it had collected nearly 11 tonnes of trash that had piled up on the peak for decades.

The clean-up initiative, the first of its kind since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa conquered the summit 66 years ago, was launched in mid-April and involved an elite team of 12 high-altitude Sherpa climbers who spent over a month collecting the waste.

“Along with the rubbish, they also collected four dead bodies from the high camps of Mount Everest that were brought to Kathmandu last week,” Dandu Raj Ghimire, the Director-General of Nepal’s Tourism Department, told Efe news.

According to Ghimire, the clean-up campaign cost nearly 23 million rupees (some $207,000). He added that China had also launched a similar drive to clean the north side of the world’s highest mountain.

“There are big environmental concerns and criticism from the international community that Nepal has not shown seriousness to maintain the beauty of the iconic peak,” he added, while vowing that the government would continue to clear the human residues left on Mount Everest.

Ang Dorje Sherpa, the Chairman of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), said around seven tonnes of waste had been collected from the Everest Base Camp and the high camps.

The other four tonnes were removed from the villages of Lukla and Namche Bazar, both of which are considered the gateway to Everest.

Hundreds of foreign mountaineers spend thousands of dollars to conquer the peak every spring season, which normally begins in early April and lasts until May. As they go on the dangerous climb, they leave behind a trail of litter.

FILE – Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is seen in this aerial view March 25, 2008. VOA

Various stakeholders, including the Tourism Ministry, the Nepali Army, the Nepal Mountaineering Association, the Nepal Tourism Board, the Sagarmatha National Park, the SPCC and the local government have joined hands for this clean-up campaign.

In recent times, Everest has often earned the moniker of the world’s highest garbage dump.

Several tonnes of old equipment, oxygen cylinders, rubbish and human waste litter the famous mountain.

The government collects more than $3.55 million per year in revenue by issuing permits for climbers, but little had been spent so far to keep the ecosystem clean.

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In 2014, the government introduced a rule forcing each member of an expedition to bring back at least 8 kg of collected garbage, in addition to the trash they generate themselves.

Each expedition team has to deposit $4,000, which are refunded if each climber returns with the 8 kg of waste.

The deposit is refunded only if the SPCC certifies that they have taken all their trash back down. But many commercial expeditions still end up leaving trash scattered among the gelid snow. (IANS)

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Giant Floating Boom Designed to Collect Trash from Ocean Finally Working

Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics!

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Floating, Trash, Ocean
FILE - A ship tows the Ocean Cleanup Project's first buoyant trash-collecting device toward the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco en route to the Pacific Ocean, Sept. 8, 2018. VOA

After several initial failures, a giant floating boom designed to collect trash from the ocean is finally working.

The Ocean Cleanup Project, created by a 25-year-old Dutch university dropout, has begun collecting items ranging in size from as large as commercial fishing nets to as small as 1 millimeter pieces of plastic from the area known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located halfway between California and Hawaii.

“Our ocean cleanup system is now finally catching plastic, from one-ton ghost nets to tiny microplastics! Also, anyone missing a wheel?” Boyan Slat tweeted.

The 600-meter-long free-floating boom has a tapered 3-meter-deep screen that acts like a coastline to trap the estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that form the patch, while allowing marine life to swim under it.

Floating, Trash, Ocean
The Ocean Cleanup Project, created by a 25-year-old Dutch university dropout, has begun collecting items ranging in size from as large as commercial fishing nets. Pixabay

An underwater parachute anchor was added to the boom after it failed to trap any trash in the sea last year. The anchor slowed down the boom to allow it to passively catch the trash while moving with the currents.

Using sensors and satellites, the boom communicates with scientists to let them know when it is time to send out a boat to pick up the collected trash for recycling.

The environmental nonprofit Ocean Conservancy estimates between 600,000 and 800,000 metric tons of fishing gear is abandoned or lost in the oceans every year. Another 8 million metric tons of plastic trash such as bottles, bags and toys flow annually into the ocean from beaches, rivers and creeks.

Slat said the next move will be to design a bigger, stronger boom that will be able to collect trash for a year or more before a ship is sent out to empty it.

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“There’s a lot of work still ahead of us,” he said. (VOA)