10 tonnes of trash was taken off Everest – and repurposed

plastics2

(Tanvi Sharma, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Charlotte Edmond, Formative Content,


At the Hotel Yak & Yeti in Kathmandu, there’s a chandelier made of green glass bottles. Not so long ago, they were in what’s been dubbed the ‘world’s highest dumpster’ – on the slopes of Mount Everest.

Since 2013, Moware Design has been promoting the circular economy in the Himalayas – while also helping to employ local women from low-income families – by upcycling waste into useful products.

 

Earlier this year, the world’s highest spring clean operation in Everest turned up 10 tonnes of trash – including discarded breathing canisters, climbing equipment, plastic and human waste – after a six week operation.

Moware has been able to repurpose some of that load. And its products, including drinking glasses and light fittings made from once-discarded scrap, are now proudly hanging in hotels, restaurants and homes around Kathmandu.

“Waste is a taboo in our society, considered as dirt,” Ujen Wangmo Lepcha of Moware told AFP. “When they see these kind of products they are like ‘wow’, these things can be made and it is possible.”

A mounting problem

When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first scaled Everest in 1953, they were treading where no human had ever successfully trod before. Since then, the route to the roof of the world has become well traversed, with hundreds of people each year attempting to follow in their footsteps. But they have gradually turned Everest into a towering trash heap.

Image: Statista

The Nepalese government has been trying to fight back against the damage caused by decades of mountaineers drawn to its slopes.

In June, a 14-strong “cleaning team” collected sacks of trash which was then flown or driven to recycling centres in Kathmandu.

Besides the upcycling initiatives, a new waste facility – called Sagarmatha Next, after the Nepali name for Everest – is also being built on the route to the base camp. As well as processing the garbage, it will work on projects with local artists to help give new life to the trash.

And the government has recently banned single use plastics from the region.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about plastic pollution?

More than 90% of plastic is never recycled, and a whopping 8 million metric tons of plastic waste are dumped into the oceans annually. At this rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.

The Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) is a collaboration between businesses, international donors, national and local governments, community groups and world-class experts seeking meaningful actions to beat plastic pollution.

It aims to show how businesses, communities and governments can redesign the global “take-make-dispose” economy as a circular one in which products and materials are redesigned, recovered and reused to reduce environmental impacts.

It’s not going to get easier

The problem is, the clean-up operation is only going to get harder. As tricky as it is to clear trash from the mountain’s lower reaches, they are easy pickings compared to the tonnes of waste that remains higher up. It’s estimated there about 30 tonnes of trash left on the mountain.

Image: Statista

Every year, more and more climbers attempt the mountain – each paying around $30,000 to do so.

Added to this, global warming means glaciers and long-standing snow and ice on the mountain are rapidly receding. This is exposing more bodies and waste, as well as making climbs more risky and difficult.

Around the world, we are generating increasing volumes of waste each year. The World Bank estimates that by 2050 we will be throwing out 3.4 billion tonnes of trash a year. These growing waste mountains contribute to greenhouse gases, releasing methane as they decompose, as well as providing a breeding ground for disease vectors.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Cameron’s Conservatives and UKIP are exploiting and cultivating anti-EU immigration sentiment but Labour party isn’t?

Why and How: Advocating for the inclusion of Palliative Care in Universal Health Care

Aung San Suu Kyi defends Myanmar from accusations of genocide, at top UN court

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Climate-proofing Timor-Leste

Financial abuse of elderly ‘rampant, but invisible’, says UN expert

Charlotte in Ghana

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Eurozone: Even good statistics mean deeper recession

The Recruitment of Children as Soldiers Explained

GSMA Mobile 360 – Latin America at Mexico City: Intelligently Connecting to a Better Future, in association with The European Sting

UN Children’s Fund chief condemns ‘horrific’ Kabul bomb attack

4 key steps to support cross-border payments and digital trade growth

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

Migrants: ‘A powerful driver’ of economic growth, ‘dynamism and understanding’

Medical Studies During COVID-19: How the Pandemic Affects this Generation of Doctors-to-be

5 reasons why biodiversity matters – to human health, the economy and your wellbeing

Companies that put employees first perform better

The 4 types of leader who will thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Climate Change Revolution: by-laws for the world

Is there a drug for every disease?

Mobile Technology Saving Lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technological solutions

Digital development: technology-enabled, but human-centric

International Women’s Day: Where does she belong?

The final countdown towards achieving 2030 Agenda

It’s 100 years since US women got the right to vote, but how has gender equality changed?

Here’s how China is going green

How each country’s share of global CO2 emissions changes over time

Road safety: Data show improvements in 2018 but further concrete and swift actions are needed

Application of EU Law in 2020: Protecting our agreed rules and shared values during a pandemic

GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa: Rise of the Digital Citizen, Kigali 16 – 18 July 2019, in association with The European Sting

European Commission steps up protection of European intellectual property in global markets

Commission reports on progress in risk reduction in the Banking Union and calls for faster progress on Capital Markets Union ahead of EU Leaders’ meetings

From sun-powered trikes to mind-controlled TV – 10 top gadgets unveiled at CES 2020

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

Norway initiates WTO dispute complaint against US steel, aluminium duties

UN Climate Action Summit concludes with insufficient EU and global pledges

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

The future of suicide and depression prevention

Study finds sharks are ‘functionally extinct’ in 20% of reefs observed

The rise of alternative medical practices in modern sports

These are the skills young people will need for the green jobs of the future

Understanding and demystifying the new outbreak of Coronavirus

In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities

Do you dare to go to China?

Libya ‘in race against time’, but dissolving conflict ‘a realistic prospect’, Security Council hears

These are the world’s 10 most innovative economies

State aid: Commission approves €300 million public support for the development of ultrafast broadband network in Greece

Immigrant integration policies have improved but challenges remain

COVID-19: MEPs call for measures to close the digital gap in education

Eurozone: Economic sentiment-business climate to collapse without support from exports

St. Vincent and the Grenadines breaks a record, as smallest ever Security Council seat holder

Indonesia is buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit. And others in ASEAN aren’t far behind

The way to entrepreneurship in the developing world

EU countries should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health

Advanced economies still have plenty of work to do to reach Sustainable Development Goals

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

UN calls for support to implement Central Africa’s newly minted peace agreement

Why practicing medicine privately at home is still a (difficult) option?

Gender gap in medicine: from when, why and until when?

It’s time for the circular economy to go global – and you can help

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s