A new gallery opening in Nepal will display works of art made out of rubbish taken from Mount Everest –it has long struggled with the status as being the “world’s highest garbage dump”.
The peak of Mount Everest rests at 29,029 feet (8,848 meters) above sea level, on the northern edge of Sagarmatha National Park, within the Khumbu region of Nepal. Everest is part of the Himalayas, a mountain range in Asia stretching about 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) across the countries of China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, India and Nepal
More than 600 people attempt to reach the summit of the world’s tallest mountain each year, and each climber discards, on average, 8kg (18lbs) of rubbish consisting of oxygen canisters, tents, food containers and even human waste. That adds up to nearly 5 tons each climbing season (March-May).
Now at least some of the huge amount of rubbish left behind by visitors each year will be put to good use.
‘We want to showcase how you can transform solid waste to precious pieces of art,’ says project director.
Troy Aupperle, an experienced mountaineer who’s climbed Everest twice and summitted once, told Live Science that, compared with other “managed” mountains he’s climbed, Everest is a free-for-all. “Compare it to Denali,” the 20,310-foot (6,190 m) mountain in Alaska, he said. “They grill you — ‘What have you done?’ ‘Are you worthy of climbing this mountain?’ Then, they lay out all these ground rules.” On Everest, however, he said, “There’s no rules, no accountability, no nothing.”
“We hope to change the people’s perceptions about the garbage and manage it.”
“It is our responsibility to keep our mountains clean,” said Dandu Raj Ghimire, director general for the Nepal Department of Tourism.
Artists will use some of this litter to create pieces, including “oxygen bottles, torn tents, ropes, broken ladders, cans and plastic wrappers,” reports Reuters.
Its “soft opening” for locals is in the spring and follows the Nepali government’s campaign launched in 2019 to remove 10 tons of rubbish from Mount Everest. The clean-up campaign will be continued in the coming seasons to clear 35 tons of rubbish from Everest and five other Himalayan peaks.
Meanwhile, plans have been mooted to scan and tag visitors’ equipment and gear and instigate a $4,277 (£3,100) deposit, which is only returned if climbers come back with all their original items.