Mount Everest Closed To Tourists Indefinitely Due To Tons Of Garbage

Mount Everest Closure
Climbers walk towards their helicopter (not seen) after their Mount Everest expeditions were cancelled (Photo: Reuters)

Local authorities in Nepal have announced that they will be closing the Mount Everest base camp to tourists until further notice. Officials claimed that the closure was mainly due to the increase in the amount of garbage within the area, which has piled up over the past few years.

Prior to the official announcement, the closure came to public attention when a group of tourists posted about the apparent closure on the internet. The post has since gone viral, prompting authorities to issue an official statement to confirm the reports. According to the deputy director of the Mount Everest reserve's administration, ordinary tourists were now prohibited from going to the base camp and any area within the mountain above an altitude of 5,200 meters.

However, tourists can still visit the different areas around the Rongpo Monastery. Authorities will reportedly still allow some travelers to visit the basecamp and to climb the mountain itself if they have the proper climbing permits. Officials have also revealed that they will be greatly limiting the number of climbers that will be issued permits until they resolve the garbage problem. The number has been reportedly reduced to less than 300 persons this year.

Moving forward, authorities are planning to implement stricter rules that are meant to protect the area's environment. Those who will be issued climbing permits will now be required to carry all their waste with them when they climb up and down the mountain. In recent years, the area has been subject to a lot of tourists, who apparently leave a lot of their equipment and trash behind during their climbs. The Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA) estimates that there have been more than 20,000 people from around the world who have climbed the mountain in the past eight years.

According to a post published on the Tibetan government website, its workers were reportedly able to gather around 8.4 tons of trash from the base camp and other areas above 5,200 meters. Areas below that altitude were also littered with trash, with workers reportedly gathering more than 335 tons of waste last year.

The Tibetan government announced that it will be forming a task force of around 200 people to clear the remaining garbage around the mountain and its different tourist spots. Authorities have not yet specified when exactly they will be reopening the mountain to the public. They only stated that they will be reopening it once all the trash is cleared out and once they have a better system in place to prevent any more garbage build up. 

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