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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Everest Region and Human waste a problem

Climate change has been a global issue of talks especially in big conferences and seminars but when it comes to ground reality it always lacks its practicability in different areas of application. Climate change is an issue of development and growth which is hard to overcome. Like said that climate change issues have not only evolved as a big problem but it also threatens its victim with the by-products that are more alerting.

On contrary it also highlights as a powerful sector of investment and opportunities with dues of limited accessibility and contradiction. Reality is it has been a constant issue of talks for what must be done on the controversial side where nobody talks about it’s by products and its hard affects which is more or less important. To be specific especially for a country like Nepal with limited Green house gas emission rate of 0.11 per person per country which is anything and still the effects of climate change is clearly visible in Nepal. Blaming climate change as the main cause of problems if you look at Nepal’s situation it is very vivid to its practices of how, and what is happening here.

From the melting of the Glacier due to temperature rise in the Himalayan region to the farming externalities of pest, climate change has been an issue of attracting donor money with no end results. Sorting the techniques climate change not only initiates cons but it also has its pros with profitable applications which to some extent shadows in. Sidelining these issues these days a new issue has evolved in the Himalayan region. The current problem other than temperature rise in the Himalayan region is taking shape of immediate attention highlighting the lack of proper waste management. Though the government with its stipulated rules and regulation has created provision of liaison officer and checking waste management but more or less to its practicality the lack of moderation certainly is piling up the Everest region with waste that are visible and waste that not visible(human waste) .

Under the Mountaineering Rules and Regulation 2059, under section 15 sub head of Functions and Duties of a Mountain Guide, it is clearly stated To bring back the garbage that came out above the base camp while using any commodity to the base camp compulsorily similarly under .

Section 27 titled Classification and Management of Garbage defines following points:

(1)The garbage shall be classified for the purpose of garbage management used by the mountaineering expedition team as follows:

(a) Garbage which can be destroyed

(b) Garbage which can be recycled

(c) Garbage which his to be re imported

(2)The materials to be considered the garbage pursuant to sub rule (1) shall be as prescribed in Schedule –10.

Schedule 10

(Relating to sub rule (2) of Rule 27)

The materials to be considered as garbage

The following materials shall come under the following garbage:-

(a) Garbage which can be destroyed: Toilet paper, paper, cardboard, things made from bamboo, jute and cotton bag, decomposed food or dead body.

(b) Garbage which can be recycled: Tin, bottle, jar, plastic can, plastic shit, reusable gas cylinder, and plastic bag or gas container.

(c)Garbage which has to be re-imported: Used oxygen bottle, used battery, equipment to be used for climbing or personnel goods etc.

Surfacing the fact of the application and visibility few attempts have been made in bring back the visible waste but what about the bio hazardous ( Human Waste). Can you imagine your waste being frozen there for ages and still have the potentiality of being harmful for the environment? It’s like time stops where everything else is frozen. The effects of lack of waste management are visible.

During the summer season when the snow melts dead crops of mountaineers can be seen in unreachable areas lying abandon. Likewise with the threat of melting down of the glacier the lack of management of waste in the Everest region has significantly triggered the utmost need of managing the human waste there. Though limited efforts have been done with collecting human waste through the waste bags in the lower region of the Everest but a condition to rethink about the upper region certainly hinder to consider about the waste management process.

In a report of United Nation Environment Program, states “ Concentrated visitor activity in mountain areas generates significant amounts of both solid waste and wastewater, which can pollute water and soil through improper storage and disposal. Solid waste can build up from food and beverage consumption and the disposal of used packaging, supplies and equipment. Certain types of waste, including pharmaceuticals, personal products and cleaning products may contain dangerous chemicals that can harm local ecosystems, wildlife or people. Accidental or poorly managed discharges of oils and fuels from vehicles, vessels or equipment can be a significant source of water or soil pollution. Wastewater and sewage from facilities, water craft and animals, such as sled dogs and horses, can also easily pollute freshwater resources, particularly since human and other wastes and chemicals break down more slowly in alpine areas.”

Till date it is estimated that more than 1million people have reached the Everest region from the time of its first scale and their waste lies as a ticking time bomb frozen and waiting for the right time to be released with all its fury. It certainly can ruin the mountain environment and its surrounding ecosystem. Huge efforts are made to stop garbage and littering in Everest region but a less ignored area is the human waste which is certainly more threatening and being ignored. More specific policies are needed with better mechanisms to curb this problem or else Everest region will be yet another environmental disaster.

Shreedeep Rayamajhi


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