When you’re swinging a paintbrush, you’re on the home straight. Anyone who has ever built a house or renovated an apartment knows this. When you can apply paint, the rough work is done and you can start to make it beautiful. Because it’s clear that you’ll soon be able to move in. This is what is currently happening to the people in the mountain village of Rama in Humla District in the far west of Nepal with their new school, which will soon be ready for use thanks to “School up – far west” and your donations.
“The two buildings, the two toilet blocks and the kitchen wing are currently being completed,” writes Shyam Pandit, the program coordinator of Nepalhilfe Beilngries in the Himalayan state. “I have sent a team of painters from Kathmandu to do the painting work.”
Bringing the excrements down from Mount Everest is one thing, what happens to it in the valley is another. As reported, from this spring onwards, all mountaineers on the Nepalese south side of Mount Everest and on the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse will have to collect their excrement in special “poo bags” and bring it back to base camp. This news made headlines around the world. But virtually no one asked what should happen to the faeces afterwards.
The poo bags will probably also be put into the blue garbage cans that have been used to collect faeces at base camp since 1996. So-called “shit porters” then carry the garbage cans down the valley, where their contents are disposed of in pits near Gorak Shep (at 5,180 meters) or Lobuche (4,940 meters), the last settlements before the base camp. A careless behaviour.
It stinks to high heaven. This is now to be a thing of the past on the highest mountain on earth. Anyone who wants to climb Mount Everest or the neighboring eight-thousander Lhotse from the Nepalese south side from this spring onwards must buy so-called “poo bags” at base camp and use them if they need to relieve themselves on the mountain.
“Our mountains have begun to stink,” Mingma Sherpa, head of the local administration of the Khumbu region, told the BBC: “We are getting complaints that human stools are visible on rocks and some climbers are falling sick. This is not acceptable and erodes our image.”
It’s not just Mount Everest in the Himalayas and Mont Blanc in the Alps that are overcrowded during the climbing season. Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, is also one of the prestige mountains that more people climb than nature can handle.
If the regional government of Yamanashi Prefecture has its way, no more than 4,000 people per day will be allowed to climb Mount Fuji from next summer onwards. In addition, summit aspirants will have to pay a climbing fee of 2,000 yen (13.50 US dollars) for the 3,776-meter-high volcano. “Keeping the number of climbers in check is an urgent task as we observe overcrowding,” said Yamanashi governor Kotaro Nagasaki, explaining the package of measures, which he intends to submit to the regional parliament this month.