Mount Everest Hikers Are Now Required To Bring Their Own Poop Back To Base Camp

"Our mountains have begun to stink," said the chairman of Pasang Lhamu rural municipality.

Cover image via Simon/Pixabay & Babu Sherpa/BBC

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Those who climb Mount Everest will now have to bring their own faeces back to base camp

Image via Simon/Pixabay

Authorities have implemented the new rule due to extreme weather conditions, as excrement is not degrading quickly enough.

"Our mountains have begun to stink," Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, told the BBC.

"We are getting complaints that human stools are visible on rocks and some climbers are falling sick. This is not acceptable and erodes our image," he added.

Ahead of the climbing season in March, 8,000 specialised poo bags have been acquired from the US

The poop bags, equipped with chemicals and powders to solidify waste and reduce odour, will be available for both hikers and staff.

Before embarking on hikes up Mount Everest and the nearby Mount Lhotse, hikers will need to purchase these poo bags at the base camp. Upon their return, the bags will be checked for compliance.

Mingma revealed that the use of waste poo bags isn't a new concept, as they are frequently employed on Mount Denali (the highest peak in North America) and in the Antarctic. The aim is that this new rule will promote a cleaner environment.

Typically, separate tents with barrels are provided for hikers to use as restroom facilities when ascending the mountain

As climbers progress to higher altitudes, they resort to digging holes in the snow for their needs.

However, as they ascend further, certain areas have less snow cover, leading climbers to relieve themselves in the open. According to BBC, very few people bring back their excrement in biodegradable bags.

Waste continues to be a huge issue for the tallest mountain in the world

In 2018, photos captured on the mountain showed heaps of trash piled up, from discarded fluorescent tents and camping equipment to empty gas canisters and human excrement.

On average, a climber is estimated to produce 250g of excrement per day. Typically, they spend approximately two weeks at the higher camps during their summit attempt.

Although cleaning expeditions have been carried out, waste remains a big issue, "especially in higher up camps where you can't reach," said Chhiring Sherpa, chief executive officer of the non-government organisation Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC).

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