We had much planned for 29 May, International Mount Everest Day. One day prior, our accumulated 1800 kilos of collected garbage from the many arduous ventures up the mountain all the way to the Death Zone was piled onto one great mountain at Everest Base Camp. The past month’s efforts displayed in a glorious, self-purifying symbol of what the Everest has become – a mountain sullied by garbage.
Ropes, empty oxygen bottles, empty EPI gas (cooking gas) cylinders, cooking pots and cooking sets, rockpittens, snow bars, ice screws, shoes, plastic, old tents, batteries, gas lighters were found.
We also prepared small–less than 2-kilo–packets of garbage for volunteers to carry down off Everest Base Camp.
On 29 May, almost 30 foreign participants and 70 local participants of the Everest Marathon 2010 agreed to carry a token package of garbage on their run with them. We are greatful to their support and commitment, and understand how even the slightest extra weight on an already-arduous run can make a significant difference – thank you! (See the race route) The runners brought garbage down to Namche Bazaar, where they were presented with certificates and EEE2010 garbage clean-up bags, sponsored by Bhat Bhateni supermarket. The runners themselves were proud to run for the environmental cause. Both winners Ang Futi Sherpa, female, and Phurba Tamang, male, also took down garbage with them.
The garbage almost evenly consisted of disposable and non-disposable waste. The disposable waste was brought to Namche Bazaar and given to the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Comittee (SPCC). The non-disposable garbage was carried on yak and jopkyo to Lukla airport and flown out to Kathmandu.
“We are very happy to see things happened that we thought never could. Altogether the volunteers carried almost 200 kilos of garbage down with them. Evereyone was so sincere about their contribution.” – Namgyal Sherpa
“May 29 is a historic day, and to think that we showed our respect to two people we have utmost respect for, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, by maintaining the sanctity of our mountain is heartening.” – Chakra Karki
Record-winning three-time champion of the Everest Marathon, Hari Roka, carried four packages of garbage from EBC to Namche Bazaar. “The mountain should be kept clean and not dirtied by visitors,” he said. This was the first time the runner from western Jumla, Nepal participated in such a clean-up campaign.