Each year, the Eco Everest Expedition picks up the oxygen tanks and food containers discarded by decades of mountaineers
In an endeavor where the burden of extra weight can mean the difference between life and death, between surviving with your limbs intact or missing, it's not surprising that until recently the custom was to leave debris such as used oxygen tanks and food containers on the mountain, where they would likely be covered by snow soon enough anyway. But the trash has accumulated over time and, sadly, global warming has meant less snow and more exposure for what was discarded.
According to an article written by expedition organizer Ang Tshering Sherpa and posted on Explorers Web, this is the fourth consecutive year that the Eco Everest Expedition has been conducted:
The Eco Everest Expedition was organized successfully for three consecutive years (2008, 2009 and 2010) to create international awareness about the impact of Climate Change in the Himalayas and the lives of the mountain communities. That is why the expedition uses highly successful alternative energy solutions like the parabolic solar cookers, solar energies for lighting and the SteriPENs for water purification and also encourages other expedition teams to use them . . .
Since 2008 until today Eco Everest Expedition has brought down more than 12,000 kilos of previous expedition garbage and more than 300 kilos of human waste produced by Eco Everest Expedition from Mt. Everest for proper disposal. Also four dead bodies [have been] recovered and brought down from the mountain for a dignified burial and funeral.
Apa and his team—which includes porters and guides from other expeditions—are planning on making several trips up and down the widely used Southeast Ridge route, reports Nick Vega on the website The BQB. That is the most heavily trafficked route to the summit. The climbers (not all of whom will attempt the summit) include 40 Sherpas and 22 others from the U.S., India, Brazil, Japan, Spain, Mexico, and Switzerland.