China plans to close Everest for clean-upJuly 1st, 2008 - 12:22 pm ICT by ANI
London, July 1 (ANI): China is planning to restrict access by climbers to Mount Everest to allow environmental teams to carry out a huge clean up of the worlds highest peak.
Mount Everest, where the air is thin and climbing to the summit is a task to which few are equal, is a terrible place to organise a clean-up operation, The Independent reported.
The planned Chinese campaign will take place in the first half of 2009 to protect the fragile ecology of the Himalayan plateau.
The exercise is also aimed at preserving the melting Rongbuk glacier, which has retreated 490feet at the base of Everest in the past decade, Zhang, the clean-up leader, said.
Just weeks after the Olympic torch relay across the planets highest peak, mountaineers are planning to scale it to clear the mounds of discarded tins, cans, bottles, oxygen canisters, rucksacks and even the occasional corpse of a climber.
In 2007, 40,000 people visited Everests Chinese northern side. While that is significantly fewer than the number that went up from the Nepali side to the south, they still managed to leave120 tonnes of rubbish.
The Tibetan environmental protection agency wants to restrict access to Everest and clean up the northern foothills.
We have a responsibility to ensure the water source of the river flowing from Everest to the sea is clean, said Zhang Yongze, the leader of the environmental group.
Our target is to keep even more people from abusing Mount Everest, he added.
Everests 29,035ft peak is on the border between China and Nepal and, in the 55 years since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first conquered it, thousands of climbers have visited the area, providing a significant source of income to both countries.
But the routes have become hopelessly overcrowded, with every group of climbers leaving its own unmistakable footprint on the mountain.
The gruelling ascent combined with deep snow, high altitude and thin air means that those who reach the summit tend to leave their gear up there to make the descent easier.
The extreme cold prevents decomposition of most of the detritus. It is thought that there at least 120 frozen corpses on the mountain. (ANI)
Tags: climbers, deep snow, edmund hillary and tenzing norgay, environmental group, environmental protection agency, fragile ecology, high altitude, himalayan plateau, mounds, mount everest, mountaineers, northern foothills, olympic torch relay, oxygen canisters, sir edmund hillary, sir edmund hillary and tenzing norgay, summ, target, thin air, water source