Four tons of rubbish cleared from Everest

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Volunteers have spent the past five days collecting abandoned oxygen tanks, climbing ropes, stoves, plastic bottles and tents from the Chinese side of the mountain.

Climbers from the UK, Spain, Italy and the US have also pitched in – with the rubbish then transported down the mountain with the help of more than 100 yaks.

The nine-day operation is focusing on climbing trails and campsites at altitudes between 5,200m and 6,500m (17,000ft and 21,300ft).

This is the first major clean-up campaign on the Chinese side for four years – but officials have vowed to keep on top of litter in future by installing bins along well-trodden routes.

Yaks have been taking the collected rubbish down the mountain
Image:Yaks have been taking the collected rubbish down the mountain

About 60,000 climbers and guides visit the north side of Everest every year, which is referred to in China by its Tibetan name Mount Qomolangma.

Over on the Nepalese side, expedition organisers have begun sending huge bin bags with climbers during the spring to collect trash, and this is then winched back to base camp by helicopter.

Kerry, the leader of a Greek mountaineering team, said: “Now we have electricity at the base camp. The mountain is getting more and more clean, and there have been a lot of small improvements for climbers on Everest.”

With demand to climb the world’s tallest mountain ever increasing, the debris they leave behind has been mounting – posing a challenge to the environment and the ecosystem.

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