As part of a series of overhauls for this year’s trekking season on Mount Everest, Nepal has demanded that climbers bring back their own trash in a bid to keep the roof of the world cleaner.
Kapindra Rai of the mountain’s pollution control committee said that if new climbers made sure to clean up their litter, “we can be assured that no new garbage will be added,” the Associated Press reports. More than 4,000 climbers have reached the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest since New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay did so in 1953.
The volume of climbers has contributed to the waste on the mountain, with of food wrappers and mountain equipment littering part of the routes. Private trekking companies have previously been tasked with cleaning up the garbage left behind by climbers. But experts say it is unclear how much rubbish is still remaining despite these efforts, as it has been covered by ice and snow over the years.
To enforce the new rules, the Nepalese government is setting up the first-ever Everest base camp where officials will ensure that climbers descend with 18 pounds of trash each.