Mount Everest. The world’s highest mountain is majestic… stunning… breathtaking… a picturesque peak that puts Nepal on the map.
It’s also literally full of crap.
That’s because the 700-plus hikers and local Sherpas who trek the world-famous landmark each year don’t give a flying poop about where they’re leaving their feces. As in, they dig a hole into the ice, drop those deuces and split. It’s become such a problem over the years that it’s now a full-blown environmental hazard.
Officials estimate that the hikers — who stay at four different camps as they ascend in order to properly acclimatize their bodies to the altitude — are leaving behind roughly 26,500 pounds of human excrement each year. Those poop pits are now threatening to spread disease to the local villages on the mountain, whose water sources are being contaminated.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the only environmental issue being caused by the steady influx of visitors on these trails. Broken equipment, empty oxygen tanks, garbage and other general waste is becoming problematic too. Not to mention the 200-plus frozen bodies that perished trying to make the trek, and are still up there because their companions couldn’t bring them back down.
— enikos_en (@enikos_en) March 4, 2015
Some environmental groups have suggested the Nepal government cut back on how many of the annual $11,000-a-pop permits they issues to tourists each year. But with a revenue of $3 million that doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.
Instead, they issued a law last year that each hiker going up the mountain is responsible for bringing back a minimum of 17.6 pounds of trash. Failure to do so results in that expedition losing their $4,000 deposit.
And yes, that includes bringing back their own crap.