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Mount Everest: Nepal to remove trash and dead bodies from world’s tallest mountain


By Lilit Marcus, CNN

(CNN) — As the 2024 Himalayan mountaineering season gets underway, another high-altitude project is in the works: removing tons of trash from Mount Everest.

According to the Nepali army, the Mountain Cleanup Campaign collected 110 tons of waste between 2019, when the program started, and 2023.

The army, which conducts the cleanup initiative in partnership with the multinational brand Unilever, will head up the campaign again this year.

Twelve members of the military, supported by 18 Sherpas, will arrive at Everest Base Camp on April 14 to begin the work.

In addition to removing an estimated 10 tons of garbage, the army said in a statement that they plan to bring five dead bodies off of the mountain. These bodies are of climbers who perished while attempting to summit the world’s highest peak.

In 2023, 12 climbers were confirmed to have died on Everest, with an additional five still officially unaccounted for.

Currently, the majority of those who try to climb the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) Himalayan peak do so via Nepal.

Last year, the Nepali government gave out a record-high 478 Everest hiking permits. However, that is not the total number of people who will be on the mountain, as Sherpa guides, support staffers and others are present with climbing groups.

As a result, overcrowding and trash have been two of the biggest problems plaguing Everest in recent years.

One of the biggest environmental issues has been human waste.

The 2024 climbing season will be the first to require all climbers to use government-distributed poop bags and bring their waste back down with them from the higher mountain camps.

“Each person produces 250 grams (8.8 ounces) of excrement a day and they will spend two weeks on the higher camps for the summit push,” Diwas Pokhrel, first vice president of Everest Summiteers Association, told CNN last month.

In addition, 2024 will be the first time that all Everest climbers are issued tracking chips, which can aid in search and rescue missions.

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