Nepal to send team to clean Mount Everest

A Sherpa bags litter on Mount Everest at 8,000 meters. (AFP)
Updated 11 April 2019

Nepal to send team to clean Mount Everest

  • Decades of commercial mountaineering have turned the mountain into the world’s highest rubbish dump
  • Fluorescent tents, discarded climbing equipment and empty gas canisters pollute the well-trodden route to the summit

KATMANDU: Nepal will send a dedicated team to Mount Everest this climbing season to collect garbage and retrieve bodies littering the world’s highest peak, officials said Thursday.
Decades of commercial mountaineering have turned the mountain into the world’s highest rubbish dump as an increasing number of big-spending climbers pay little attention to the ugly footprint they leave behind.
Fluorescent tents, discarded climbing equipment, empty gas canisters and even human excrement pollute the well-trodden route to the summit of the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) peak.
“We take pride in Mount Everest but we are often accused of not being able to clean it... We have now come together to clean the mountain,” said Dandu Raj Ghimire, chief of Nepal’s tourism department.
The government has joined hands with mountaineering associations, the army and local organizations to coordinate the clean-up effort.
A 14-member team will be sent to Everest base camp from April 25 and aim to bring back 10,000 kilogrammes (11 tons) of trash.
Eight members will then ascend to Camp 2 at 6,400 meters and teams of three will take turns to go up to Camp 4 at 7,950 meters, where they will spend 15 days litter-picking on the snowy slopes.
Climbers and high altitude workers will be given incentives to bring back the bundled trash down to the base camp and the recyclables will be airlifted to the capital.
“This is the first time the government has taken initiative to clean the mountain... but it can’t be done in just one year. We have to continue this,” said Santa Bir Sherpa of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
Six years ago, Nepal implemented a $4,000 rubbish deposit per team that would be refunded if each climber brought down at least eight kilogrammes (18 pounds) of waste, but only half of the climbers return with their trash.
In February, China banned non-climbers from accessing its Everest base camp in Tibet in an attempt to clean up its side of the mountain.
Over 4,000 people have climbed Everest so far, and last year saw a record 807 climbers reach the summit.
Melting glaciers caused by global warming are exposing bodies and trash that have accumulated on the mountain since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made the first successful summit 66 years ago.
Environmentalists are also concerned that the pollution on Everest is also affecting water sources down in the valley.


Married only minutes, Texas newlyweds killed in crash

Updated 25 August 2019

Married only minutes, Texas newlyweds killed in crash

  • Judge who married the couple also pronounced them dead at the scene

ORANGE, Texas: Harley Morgan was still wearing his dark suit and Rhiannon Boudreaux her wedding dress when the Texas “childhood sweethearts” were killed in a crash with a truck minutes after they were married.
Nineteen-year-old Morgan and 20-year-old Boudreaux were pronounced dead Friday at the scene by the same justice of the peace who had just married them.
“I’m talking five minutes. You may kiss the bride,” said Orange Police Cpt. Keith Longlois. “The family was right behind them. They were all going out to go to wherever they were going to have their reception,” he said.
Longlois said they were “childhood sweethearts” who decided to be married by a popular Orange County Justice of the Peace Joy Dubose-Simonton.
He said the groom was driving when he tried to exit the driveway of the Justice of The Peace building onto a five-lane highway. A truck pulling a trailer carrying a heavy tractor slammed into their vehicle. The force was so great that witnesses said the car flipped multiple times before coming to rest in a ditch.
The driver of the truck was not identified but Longlois said he was cooperating with the investigation and there was no sign of wrongdoing. Drug and alcohol tests would be conducted, he said.
“I had to sit there and watch my two babies die,” the mother of the groom, LaShawna Morgan, told the Beaumont Enterprise.