In addition to seeing a record number of climbers this year, a
government-led cleaning initiative on Everest - the world's highest
mountain - also collected over 10 tonnes of trash.
The new ban in Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality, home to Mount
Everest and several other snow-capped mountains, covers all plastic of
less than 30 microns in thickness as well as drinks in plastic bottles,
and will be effective from January.
"If we start now, it will help keep our region, the Everest and the
mountains clean long term," local official Ganesh Ghimire told AFP.
The region receives over 50,000 tourists every year, including climbers and trekkers.
The local body will work with trekking companies, airlines and the
Nepal Mountaineering Association to enforce the ban, though no penalty
has yet been decided for violation.
Environmentalists are also concerned that the pollution on Everest is affecting water sources down in the valley.
Six years ago, Nepal introduced a $4 000 deposit per team of
climbers on Everest that would be refunded if each climber brought down
at least eight kilos of waste, but only half of the climbers
return with the required amount.
Melting glaciers caused by global warming are now exposing bodies and
litter that have accumulated on the mountain since Edmund Hillary and
Tenzing Norgay made the first successful summit 66 years ago.
This year's climbing season saw a record 885 people summit Everest,
644 of them from the south and 241 from the northern flank in Tibet.
This, combined with poor weather and the inexperience of some of the
climbers, contributed to a deadly season in which 11 people died.
Last week a government committee recommended that climbers scale
another Nepal mountain of at least 6 500 metres before
being given permission to attempt Everest.
It also proposed a fee of at least $35,000 for Everest and $20 000
for other mountains over 8 000 metres. Currently, permits for Everest
cost $11 000.