(TibetanReview.net, Apr17’19) – After opening access to the base camp of Mt Everest with asphalt road for vehicular traffic in the name of development and modernization, China has now closed the site to everyone except those with permits to scale the world’s highest peak. The move was taken in response to the huge amount of rubbish that has been piling up at the site, reported lonelyplanet.com Apr 16.
The report noted that the base camp on the Tibetan side was much more accessible to visitors, who could simply drive up to it via an asphalt highway. It added that this easy route likely contributed to the problem of rubbish getting out of control.
While climbers with a permit to scale the peak are still permitted in the camp, only 300 of these are being issued each year, the report noted.
Clean-up operations launched last spring yielded eight tonnes of waste but now more drastic measures have been deemed necessary to tackle the issue. And this year’s clean-up efforts will also focus on recovering bodies that have been on the mountain for years, the report said.
The highest the visitors from the Tibetan side can now go is Rongbuk Monastery, located about 5000 metres above sea level and very close to the Base Camp, with an excellent view of the mountain, the report said.
Meanwhile, the base camp on the Nepalese side continues to operate normally, and is even more popular with visitors, despite being only accessible by a trek of more than a week, the report noted. Latest figures from the government of Nepal were stated to show that it had welcomed 45,000 trekkers in the 2016-2017 season.
Nepal is to launch its own clean-up operation on Apr 25 with plans to collect 11 more tonnes of waste. This multi-year programme with extend to tackling the issue of waste all the way up to Mount Everest.