Home Lead Story Nepal Climber...

Nepal Climbers Retreive 4 Bodies, 11 Tonnes of Decades-Old Garbage from Mount Everest

A clean-up team of 20 sherpa climbers collected five tons of litter in April and May from different camps sites above the base camp and another six tons from the areas below

0
nepal, mount everest, garbage trails
Workers from a recycling company load garbage collected and brought from Mount Everest, in Kathmandu, Nepal, June 5, 2019. VOA

Nepali climbers have retrieved four bodies and collected some 11 tons of decades-old garbage from Mount Everest and its approach below the base camp as part of a drive to clean up the world’s highest mountain, the government said on Wednesday.

Climbers returning from the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) mountain say its slopes are littered with human excrement, used oxygen bottles, torn tents, ropes, broken ladders, cans and plastic wrappers left behind by climbers, an embarrassment for a country that earns valuable revenue from Everest expeditions.

The garbage, along with the bodies of some of the 300 people who have died over the years on Everest’s slopes, are buried under the snow during winter, but become visible when the snow melts in summer.

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

A clean-up team of 20 sherpa climbers collected five tons of litter in April and May from different camps sites above the base camp and another six tons from the areas below, said Dandu Raj Ghimire, director general of the Department of Tourism.

“Unfortunately, some garbage collected in bags at the South Col could not be brought down due to bad weather,” Ghimire said in a statement on Wednesday.

Everest was first conquered by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and about 5,000 people have since reached the summit. South Col, on the Southeast Ridge route pioneered by Hillary and Tenzing, is located at some 8,016 meters (26,300 feet), and it is the site of the final camp from where climbers begin their summit attempts.

Mount Everest
Mountaineering in Nepal has become a lucrative business . Pixabay

Cleaning campaign coordinator Nim Dorjee Sherpa, head of the village where Mount Everest is located, told Reuters two bodies were collected from the treacherous Khumbu Icefall and two from camp three site at the Western Cwm. “They were exposed from the snow when the sherpas picked up and brought them down,” he said.

None of the four bodies have been identified and it was not known when they died. Nine mountaineers died on the Nepali side of Everest in May while two perished on the Tibetan side, making it the deadliest climbing season since 2015.

ALSO READ: Nepali Sherpa Breaks Own Record, Climbs Everest Twice in Week

Climbers returning from Everest have talked of crowding and delays on the Nepali side just below the summit in the “death zone”, so-called because at that altitude the lack of oxygen can be fatal. However climbers and guides have blamed a host of factors for the deaths.

Ghimire, of the Department of Tourism, said the deaths were not because of congestion but due to bad weather and short summit windows. Nepal this year issued 381 permits to climb the Everest, costing $11,000 each, an important source of income for the cash-strapped nation. (VOA)

Next Story

Huawei, China Mobile Jointly Take 5G Connectivity To Mount Everest

According to Huawei, it has offered end-to-end solutions in the construction of China Mobile's Everest dual Gigabit network

0
5G
At the attitude of 5,300 meters, the 5G download speed exceeded 1.66 Gbps, where the upload speed tops 215 Mbps. Wikimedia Commons

Huawei and China Mobile on Friday announced they have jointly taken 5G connectivity to a new height by bringing the network on the summit of Mount Everest, after the completion of the worlds highest 5G base station at an altitude of 6500 metres.

With the launch of the Gigabit optical fibre network at the attitude of 6,500 meters, Huawei has enableed China Mobile to run its dual Gigabit network on Mount Everest.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the first successful arrival at Mount Everest from the northern slope, the 5G network on Mount Everest will provide communication services for the 2020 Mount Everest re-measurement.

Huawei
Huawei and China Mobile on Friday announced they have jointly taken 5G connectivity to a new height by bringing the network on the summit of Mount Everest. Wikimedia Commons

According to Huawei, it has offered end-to-end solutions in the construction of China Mobile’s Everest dual Gigabit network, where base stations were built in Mount Everest Base Camp at the attitude of 5,300 metres, the Transition Camp at 5,800 metres, and the Forward Camp at 6,500 metres.

At the attitude of 5,300 meters, the 5G download speed exceeded 1.66 Gbps, where the upload speed tops 215 Mbps.

ALSO READ: Mango Growers May Suffer 100% Loss Due to Lockdown: Experts

Meanwhile, with its HoloSens intelligent video surveillance system, Huawei ensures streaming quality with the capabilities of optimisation and fault locating with just one click, keeping the networks always on even at the attitude of 6,500 meters at the summit of Everest, said the company. (IANS)

 

Next Story

New Strain of Plastic-Eating Bacteria Found

German Scientists Identify New Strain of Plastic-eating Bacteria

0
Plastic
Plastic and other garbage floats in a collector of a new device that uses a curtain of tiny air bubbles to catch plastic floating in the capital's canals is seen in Amsterdam, Netherlands. VOA

By Zlatica Hoke

German scientists say they have identified a strain of bacteria that is feeding on polyurethanes, a plastic resistant to biodegradation. This is an environment news.

A team of researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, has found that a strain of soil bacterium, identified as Pseudomonas putida, can produce enzymes to digest polyurethanes thus making it biodegradable.

Please follow NewsGram on Twitter to get updates on the latest news

The German team says the bacterium found in the soil surrounding a heap of polyurethane waste was feeding on polyurethane diol, which is used in plastic as a component that protects products from corrosion.

Plastic
A worker sorts through recycling bins at a centre that offers residents money in exchange of their recyclable garbage in an attempt to keep the streets clean in Cairo, Egypt. VOA

Hermann Heipieper, one of the researchers and author of the study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, said “this finding represents an important step in being able to reuse hard-to-recycle (polyurethane) products.”

The study offers hope of ridding the planet of the growing quantities of discarded plastics’ products that threaten human and animal life. But some scientists are skeptical.

In earlier experiments, biodegradation of some plastics components was achieved with fungi. Yale University students in 2011 discovered a fungus that can digest and break down polyurethane plastic even in a place without air – like the bottom of a landfill. Since then scientists around the world have identified other fungal species that can breakdown polyurethane. In 2017, a team of scientists identified another fungus that can feed on plastic by breaking down chemicals that hold it together.

These studies also raised concerns about the ability of micro-organisms to invade and corrupt a dead and therefore sterile substance like plastic. Research on coral reefs has shown that floating plastics carry disease-causing microbes that infect the coral.

The Leipzig study says bacteria are much easier to control and produce for industrial use. Its authors say the next step is to identify the gene code of the enzymes produced by the bacteria to digest polyurethane.

Some scientists are arguing against introducing man-made enzymes or potentially dangerous micro-organisms into the natural environment.

Two years ago, scientist Douglas Rader wrote in an op-ed for the Environmental Defense Fund that “There is so much more we need to understand about the complex relationships between plastics and marine ecosystems before we can take drastic action such as spraying the ocean with so-called plastic-eating bacteria.”

Plastic
Workers load collected plastic bottles on to a truck at a junk shop in Manila. VOA

Despite new findings, science is nowhere near solving the growing plastics pollution problem. Humankind has manufactured and discarded so much plastics over the years that the world is getting short of places to dump the enormous quantities accumulated every day. Refusal by many developing countries to accept plastic waste from rich nations has exacerbated the problem.

Please follow NewsGram on Instagram to get updates on the latest news

Some countries are cutting down on the use of plastics bags, drinking straws, bottles and utensils. Scientists keep coming up with new biodegradable products to replace plastic, such as wrapping materials made from algae, straws made of paper and disposable utensils made of bamboo, but the movement could be described as “too little too late.” Recycling the plastics to make building materials, fabrics, and other new plastic products cannot even make a dent in the growing amounts of plastics waste.

Also Read- India’s Lockdown Disrupts Functioning of Amazon and Flipkart

Plastic remains the most practical packaging material and is indispensable in medical, pharmaceutical, sanitary and many other industries. Some new biodegradable, but equally useful material, has yet to be developed.

Meanwhile scientists estimate that about 8 million pieces of plastics enter the oceans every day. For some of them it will take hundreds of years to properly degrade if they are not first swallowed by fish and other marine creatures that will die from it. (VOA)

Next Story

Mount Everest Spring Climbing to be Cancelled: Expedition Operators

Guides Say China is Shutting Everest due to Virus Fears

0
Mount Everest
Expedition operators on Mount Everest said that Chinese mountaineering officials will not allow spring climbs from their side of the mountain due to fears of the coronavirus. Pixabay

Expedition operators on Mount Everest said Thursday that Chinese mountaineering officials will not allow spring climbs from their side of the mountain due to fears of the coronavirus.

On the others side of the mountain in Nepal, operators say cancellations for the popular spring climbing season have been pouring in despite the mountain being open for business.

Dawa Shepra of Kathmandu-based Climbalaya Treks and Expeditions said the officials told them though the virus was getting under control in China, they could not risk bringing in foreign climbers. He said the conversation with the China Tibet Mountaineering Association officials was over the phone and no official emails, faxes or messages were sent.

Jiban Ghimire of Shangrila Nepal Trek also said he spoke on the phone with Chinese officials who said there would be no climbing on Everest during this year’s popular spring climbing season.

Climbers using the northern route in China generally uses operators based in Nepal to equip and manage the expeditions. Although China has canceled most sports events for the foreseeable future, Zhang Mingxin of the Tibetan sports administration said it was still monitoring the situation and had yet to make a decision.

Mount Everest
A bird flies as Mount Everest is seen from Namche Bajar, Solukhumbu district, Nepal. Expedition operators on Mount Everest say that Chinese mountaineering officials will not allow spring climbs from their side of the mountain due to fears of the coronavirus. VOA

“We have been maintaining contact with overseas organizers of the mountaineering teams to get updated information. It depends on the development of the epidemic situation and the ability of our providing services,” Zhang told The Associated Press on Thursday. In Nepal the mountaineering season began last week and Everest was still open for climbers.

Officials and mountaineering expedition operators, however, said they fear there will be a significant drop in the number of climbers this year. That could reduce government revenue and affect the thousands of workers who depend on the climbers for their livelihoods.

“This season is not very encouraging for the mountaineering industry in Nepal,” said Surendra Thapa, the director at Nepal’s Department of Tourism. Operators says though climbers generally arrive in April so they can attempt scale the peak in May, they were getting many cancellations.

Also Read- UAE Suspends Foreign Visas Due to COVID-19

“We are getting flooded with postponements. They all want to hold on their climb and shift to 2021 season,” said Jiban Ghimire of Shangrila Nepal Trek. Pemba Sherpa of Xtreme Climbers Treks, said all of the cancellations were going to be a big setback for Nepal’s mountaineering industry. (VOA)