You ever go on a camping trip and worry about where you’ll go when it’s time to, ahem...go? Well, when nature calls during a schlep up the world’s highest mountain, you may find that proper waste disposal is your last concern. That’s a growing problem on Mt. Everest, where a dumping ground is threatening the water supply.
Sherpas have reportedly carried almost 30,000 pounds of human waste to a dumping site at Gorakshep, a frozen lakebed almost 20,000 feet above sea level. Thing is, ex-mountaineer Garry Porter says the waste is dumped into pits that threaten to contaminate the water supply if they leak. “It’s unsightly and unsanitary," says Porter. "It’s a health issue and an environmental nightmare." And totally gross!
Porter doesn’t blame visitors to the mountain or local authorities, instead starting the Mount Everest Biogas Project dedicated to trying to clean up the mountain — with science! The project aims to install machines around the dumping site that will turn the harmful waste into methane gas.