Press conference a success

Our press conference last Sunday 18 July turned out a huge success! Thank you to all those who supported us through attendance, awareness-raising, sponsorship, moral support and well wishes. Friends from the media, thank you for the generous press coverage. For those of you couldn’t make it, below are a few memorable comments made by our respected guests.

Prithivi B Pande, Chairman and Chief Executive of Nepal Investment Bank Limited, Sponsor of EEE 2010

Over the years the debris was covered by snow, but now due to global warming it is being slowly exposed.

Chakra and Namgyal were concerned and wanted to do something about it and had gathered together a voluntary team of 31 people to help clean up this mess in this very dangerous area at very high altitude.

I myself have been concerned not only with the state of our mountain, but with the general state of our environment, and in particular, the garbage issue in our beautiful valley.

Right then and there, without hesitation, I agreed to try and help this unique endeavour to get the corporate sponsorship it required. In addition, I realized that the expedition ought to filmed so that that a documentary could be made of their efforts

This documentary could be shown to people to encourage them to keep the environment clean.

We particularly want to focus on school children, encouraging their awareness and motivating them.

Once the documentary is ready, one of our main objectives is to screen it at schools all over the country in order to raise awareness.

Diwakar Golcha, Chairman of Hulas Steel, Sponsor of EEE 2010

The garbage has created lots of problems for tourists climbing the mountain, as well as lots of accidents. We thought this was a good year to take up the project.

Ang Tsering Sherpa, Immediate Past President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association

I would like to congratulate the clean-up Everest expedition. The mountains are related to all spans of life and this whole region. Clean-up is very necessary.

Yogendra Shakya, Coordinator of Nepal Tourism Year 2011

I think you have done a wonderful job and on behalf of the Nepal Tourism Board, we would like to the credit to say that Nepal Tourism Year started on the right foot.

Dr. Minendra Rijal, Honourable Minister of Culture and Parliamentary Affairs

Two things brought me here today. First, the topic as such, the work that was done. Second, that this whole effort has been coordinated by the private sector.

Clearing 1800 kgs of garbage from Mount Everest was a very commendable task. The clean-up campaign made by the expedition at Everest could render a big support to the Nepal Tourism Year 2011

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Reporter’s trash

Three journalists took down EEE garbage from Everest Base Camp while on a reporting trip to the area. Bibek Bhandari tells EEE about the experience.

Dairy Milk chocolate wrappers and empty Bikaner Bhujiya packets: Those were some of the items I carried down from the Everest Base Camp. But mind it, it wasn’t my litter but of those who have probably set out to conquer the world’s highest summit. Instead of glory, they should be ashamed to have dumped their garbage on their way towards it.

But there have been organizations and individuals like the Extreme Everest Expedition and the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee based in Namche Bazaar that are committed to clean the mess that others, who pay thousands of dollars to climb Everest, have created. And joining hands to clean the garbage from the Everest region are people of all professions, including us.

At base camp, the sight of tons of waste recovered from above 8,000 meters was not pretty. Empty oxygen cylinders, burners and plastic: Yikes, I thought to myself. But at the same time I thought it would be a good initiative to carry some of the garbage with me. And I encouraged some of my friends to do something good, be a part of the cause.

But it wasn’t only us—a team of five journalists (only three carried the garbage) who were there to cover the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon 2010—ready to carry a small packet of garbage and ferry it to Namche. Some of the participants of the marathon were also involved in the cause and they sounded excited to be a part of the marathon and Everest clean-up campaign.

And I was excited too.

So I asked for a garbage packet that was tucked in a zip-lock bag. And when I received a weightless (literally) packet with some condiment wrappers, I asked to one of the representatives of the campaign: “Is this it?”

“Oh if this isn’t enough, you can have this one,” he said passing a bigger packet. But since I already had a heavier backpack, I opted for the smaller one and put it inside my backpack. It actually made no difference weight-wise and I was happy to be a part of a good cause.

Maybe I was too happy, or tired, or the weight of the garbage made no difference, that I completely forgot to submit the garbage packet in Namche. And so I carried it to all the way Lukla. But since we reached Lukla late in the evening and had to board an early morning flight, it was difficult to drop the garbage at the designated place. But we had to do what we were supposed to do. So we handed over the garbage along with our names (me and my friend’s) to a security personnel we were told to contact. Anyways, mission accomplished. I’d say over-accomplished since we had the garbage with us for an extra two days.

We may have done our part, but everyone must do theirs and act accordingly. When I talked to one of the German participants, she said it would be better that people who climb Everest not litter so that people like us do not have to worry about cleaning. As I talked to one of the hotel owners, she said it was high time for people to clean the capital rather than Everest and learn something from the locals of Solukhumbu. And she seemed right. In Lukla, I came across members of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, returning after their mission of cleaning the area, which they do on frequent intervals during and after the trekking season ends.

And I asked to myself: How often do we do this in Kathmandu?

The cleaning campaign in Everest is certainly an eye-opener for what is happening in the region. The empty Snickers and Mars wrappers scattered along the trekking trails are still found in abundance. As trekkers, people should be aware of the ecological and environmental consequences that they’re leaving behind. Beyond the trekking trails, mountaineers should realize the potential hazards they’re creating by dumping their trash; and at the national level, we should be aware of this and learn from it.

Bibek Bhandari is a correspondent for Republica.

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International Mount Everest Day: An update

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.

-EEE Team

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Mountains’ worth

All the collected garbage has been packed and piled onto our garbage mountain. Arrangements have also been made to distribute garbage to the runners of the Everest Marathon on International Mount Everest Day of 29, May 2010.

Three journalists – Asim Suvedi of the Kathmandu Post, Bibek Bhandari of Republica and photojournalist Keshab Thokar, have taken down some of our garbage with them.

More on the events of International Mount Everest Day soon to come…

-Chakra Karki

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400 kilos

Both groups have returned to Everest Base Camp bringing with them 400 kilos of garbage. An oxygen bottle and EPI gas were found dating 1969! Our team will be going back up to the South Col today to continue with the clean-up effort.

-Chakra Karki

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At the summit

This is just a short update to assure our supporters that six of our team members summited Everest yesterday and the second group will be summit today. We were graced with a window of good weather and will be bring down as much garbage as our bodies can afford. Wish us strength and more good weather.

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EEE 2010 Press Conference
3 PM
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Nepal Investment Bank, 3rd floor, Durbar Marg
Kathmandu, Nepal
Press and trekking agencies welcome!

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