The peak of Mt. Everest is 8,848 meters to the top. That’s quite a climb, even for the most experienced mountaineer. The trek takes months, with climbers facing extreme weather conditions, icy terrain, insanely cold temperatures, and a myriad of other obstacles. But, thanks to a brand new toilet being added to the mountainside, this journey just got a little bit easier–or at least a little bit more convenient.
A Chinese campsite on Mt. Everest will be installing an eco-friendly toilet for mountaineers for the climbing season. The last thing you want when climbing the world’s most challenging mountain is needing to go to the bathroom…but not having one around.
While it may be unknown to many, there is actually a significant problem with waste disposal on the famous mountain. Everything from tents, gas canisters, climbing equipment, and other forms of waste are all discarded on the mountainside.
In an attempt to tackle this ever-growing problem, a Chinese expedition company will be adding an eco-friendly toilet to their campsite, which is 7,028 meters to the top of the 8,848 meter peak.
Pema Tinley, Deputy Secretary General of the Tibet Mountaineering Association, says, “the toilet makes it easy to collect human waste produced by the climbers as there is a barrel with rubbish bags underneath the toilet.” The waste will be removed from the facility and then brought down to base camp, where that waste is disposed of daily and given to farmers to use as fertilizer.
This toilet, like the others on Mt. Everest, will be removed at the end of the climbing season. In February 2019, China actually banned all non-climbers from using its base camp in an effort to eliminate potential waste and clean up the mountainside.
Currently, all raw sewage from the camp is carried to the nearest village–a one-hour walk away–and dumped in a trench, which further risks contamination of water sources and the environment.
Hopefully with the installation of better waste management systems, Mt. Everest will stay clean. And while a toilet won’t make climbing Mt. Everest any less challenging, it will surely add another level of convenience that climbers will appreciate.