P. Edronkin

The Highest Garbage In The World

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Mount Everest attracts thousands of visitors each year that leave thousands of kilos of all sorts of garbage without much of a fuss.

Famous mountains like Mount Everest, Aconcagua and others that in addition to their celebrity status are relatively easy to reach or at least, approach them, in contraposition to others that are harder to get to, like K2 or Cerro Torre, literally suffer the contamination caused by thousands of enthusiastic tourists and generally well equipped and qualified climbers that constantly try to reach the summit.

These particular developments are causing local contamination to an alarming degree because after each expedition the snow and rocks are left littered with valuable things like tents, oxygen bottles, climbing gear and equipment and even corpses, like in the case of the late climber Mallory, who seems to have been first up there, before Hillary, but died on his way down.

Since these elements don't constitute natural components of the area and are not easily degraded by nature, it becomes evident that tourists, sherpas and climbers are causing an unique sort of contamination.

Of course, climbing gear is necessary to get to the top of such mountains, but we should keep in mind that leaving such traces is bad for the local environment, no matter what and it would be foolish to assume that since it is "just" a bottle or tin can, a broken tent or a rope that we leave behind it won't have any impact. A lot of people think that one cigarette does nothing to the environment, but if you star adding up the "one" cigarette that they are having moment after moment, then things change. Any sort of non-degradable garbage has a negative effect in our world.

It would be ideal to have at least some sort of disposable and biodegradable gear that once used could be assimilated back to nature instead of littering the pristine ground of such high places. Plus, it would lessen the risks and workload of those in charge of cleansing the area periodically. It is ironic that people who love nature have become the main cause of contamination at the roof of the planet, plus, that they are far from self-sufficient there because they need others to take their garbage out of there, if it is ever taken; this should change, and we should lead by our example.

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