Mount Everest: The World’s Highest Garbage Dump


Mount Everest is one of the most well-known peaks in the world, renowned for its breathtaking beauty. However, due to human damage, the natural wonder is turning from a snowy peak to a body of trash. This increased contamination also puts the health of the local Himalayan people at risk. The Sagarmatha National Park, which encloses the mountain, receives around a hundred thousand visitors annually, and more than six hundred people attempt the challenging adventure of climbing it during peak season. Each person creates an average of eighteen pounds of trash, most of which gets left on the mountain. This trash is damaging to the environment and the local population.

Located in the Himalayan range, Mount Everest is the world’s tallest mountain. It reaches an elevation of 8,850 meters above sea level, and it has become a popular tourist spot and challenging expedition, with many trying to conquer this mountain. There is a record number of climbers in 2023, with 463 permits. In addition, with the influx of people came an increase in trash and littering. 

Despite Mount Everest’s remarkable contribution to the world’s natural wonders, it has become a source of contamination due to the trash left on it by visitors, with more covered garbage becoming exposed recently. Over 200 corpses of climbers cover Everest’s slopes. Another source of this waste is human secretions, including feces, urine, and blood, which mountain glaciers circulate. Even though base camps collect human waste, much remains dispersed across the environment. Equipment, including tents, ropes, stoves, ladders, tins, and cans, amount to about thirty tonnes of waste which massively furthers this issue. 

Furthermore, harmful chemicals pollute the water bodies that stream out of the mountain and the Sagarmatha watershed, threatening the Himalayan communities that depend on them for clean drinking water. This unsanitary environment facilitates the spread of waterborne diseases like cholera and hepatitis A. Further proving the magnanimity of this issue, Mount Everest is also of cultural and spiritual significance to the nearby Tibetans. The mountain is called “Chomolungma” in the native language, which means goddess mother of the world. To the Sherpa people (a Tibetan ethnic group), it is a sacred place deserving of respect and dignity. Thus, the polluted mess it has turned into is unacceptable in the minds of the locals. 

As a solution, authorities have asked climbers to pay a $4,000 fee before their journey. These funds go towards clean-up campaigns and better sanitation technologies. Other regulatory measures such as traffic flow, security, and environmental protection are lacking in Nepal compared with other countries housing such natural wonders. The Nepali government must institute stricter measures for proper disposal and sustainability to protect the mountain and surrounding parks and the local population. 

To conclude, we must take adequate care of Mount Everest and the rest of our planet. By paying more attention to proper trash disposal and sanitation, we can help make a difference. After all, we only have one planet and one Mount Everest.

Works Cited

Limbu, Sajina. “Mount Everest Is Turning into a Garbage Dump.” Earth.Org, 7 May 2024,,microplastic%20pollution%2C%20and%20human%20waste. 

“Trash and Overcrowding at the Top of the World.” Education, Accessed 22 June 2024.