There’s So Much Trash On Mount Everest That Nepal Is Banning Single-Use Plastics

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There’s so much trash accumulating in the Mount Everest area of Nepal that the country is banning single-use plastics in an attempt to get things under control. According to CNN, plastic soda bottles and any single-use plastic under.03 millimeters thick are no longer allowed in the Khumbu of Nepal. Tourists and hikers won’t be allowed to bring the plastics in, and local stores won’t be able to sell them as of January of next year.

Ganesh Ghimire, the chief administrative officer of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, made the announcement about the new policy, which is aimed at reducing trash from the 150,000 visitors who come to the area each year. He explained that plastic water bottles would be exempted from the policy.

“We are consulting with all sides about what can be done about plastic water bottles,” he said. “We will soon find a solution for that.”

Each year, visitors hoping to scale the famous mountain come through the region, passing through several villages before they start their hike. As they do, they leave copious amounts of trash behind, leaving local communities to deal with the problem. Earlier this year, a group of over a dozen volunteers recovered an astounding 6,613 pounds of trash from the mountain in just two weeks. Ultimately, the group hoped to recover over three times that amount by the time they were done, according to CNN.

An army helicopter helped to remove the trash, which included empty bottles, plastics, and discarded climbing and camping gear.

The team also came across four bodies on the mountain. Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, said that this is becoming a more common occurrence.

“Due to the impact of climate change and global warming, snow and glaciers are fast melting and dead bodies are increasingly being exposed and discovered by climbers,” Sherpa said.

The Chinese side of the mountain has had its own trash troubles. The country banned non-climbers from the China side of the mountain this year as part of its effort to reduce the amount of waste in the area. According to Yahoo!, the ban doesn’t impact climbers who hold permits to scale the mountain, only “ordinary tourists” in the area.

China also announced that it planned to work on removing some of the bodies that are still on the mountain. There are likely over 100 bodies on the mountain, of the 300 climbers who have died attempting to scale its heights over the past six decades, according to The New York Times.