Photo: Daniel Prudek/Shutterstock

Does Mt. Everest Need a Port-a-Potty?

Nepal Hiking
by Jason Wire Oct 13, 2011
880 pounds of human excrement has been hauled away from Mt. Everest in the last three years.

Given that you can already get 3G phone reception at the summit of Mt. Everest, perhaps now you’ll have a bathroom to read your emails in.

A waste-minded conservation group, Eco Himal, are calling on the Nepalese government to install some port-a-johns around Mt. Everest to help control the hundreds of pounds of bodily waste that hopeful mountaineers leave behind each year. Although some might think they’re just composting, freezing temperatures can cause the stuff to stick around much longer than Eco Himal would like.

More telling of the need to keep Everest clean is the 13 tons of garbage that the privately funded Eco Everest Expedition has collected over the past three years. While the Himalayas are pretty much viewed as the apex (sorry, had to) of crisp, clean mountain air, the nickname that some conservationists have given it — “the world’s highest dumpster” — might be more deserved than one would imagine.

While I’ve never been to Everest, I think installing portable bathrooms might be a bit heavy-handed of an approach. Instead, I think a less-invasive PR mission would do the trick, telling travelers to leave the fresh, pure mountain snow exactly as they found it: edible.

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