Nepal Bans Single-use Plastics on Mt. Everest After Removing 11 Tons of Trash

Climbing Mount Everest is not what it used to be.

Earlier this year, John Oliver did a deep-dive into the deadly crowding on top of Mt. Everest on his show “Last Week Tonight,” joking that trekking the summit had become “like the line at Trader Joe’s.” And, in addition to a multitude of other problems, all these people climbing Mt. Everest bring a lot of trash with them.

In an effort to cut down on the trash found littered around Everest, Nepal announced that it would ban single-use plastics from its Khumbu region.

The ban, effective January 2020, would prohibit trekkers from bringing and shops from selling plastic soft drink bottles and single-use plastics less than 0.03 millimeters thick. The ban does not apply to plastic water bottles.

"We are consulting with all sides about what can be done about plastic water bottles," Ganesh Ghimire, the chief administrative officer of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, told CNN. "We will soon find a solution for that."

The government has not yet announced what the punishment will be for those found bringing single-use plastics into the region following the ban. A local official told AFP news agency that the measure “will help keep our region, the Everest and the mountains clean long term.”

The region now welcomes about 150,000 visitors each year. Earlier this year, at least 11 tonnes of trash was cleared from the mountain.

This year, at least 11 people died or went missing while attempting to climb Everest, according to the BBC. The summit had a record-breaking 885 people attempt to climb it in 2019.

Earlier this month, an advisory panel recommended that those who wanted to trek the summit should first be required to scale a smaller summit of at least 21,000 feet. The panel also suggested increasing the price of a summit climb from $11,000 to at least $35,000.

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