During the official climbing season, China plans to install eco friendly toilets at a camp 7,028 meters up the north slope of Mount Everest in Tibet.
Built by a Chinese commercial expedition company, these toilets will be installed at camps located 5,200 metres, 5,800 metres and 6,500 metres above the sea level. According to officials involved in the project, toilets located at a height above 7,500 feet are not needed at the moment.
With regard to the facilities, Pema Tinley, the Deputy Secretary General of the Tibet Mountaineering Association, said, “The toilet, equipped with a barrel fitted with rubbish bags underneath, will make it easier to collect human waste. Our research shows when climbing above 7,500 metres, climbers produce little waste and urine, because they tend to eat less and consume energy faster at this extreme altitude.”
The climbing season during spring on the north slope of Mount Everest lasts from early April to late May. The waste which is taken away is given to local farmers so they can use it as a fertilizer.
Apart from the eco friendly toilets by China, Nepal is planning to add a biogas plant near the south slope of Mount Everest. The advantage of this is that it would turn the faeces into fertilizer.
Before the toilets were installed, the waste from the mountains was carried to the nearest village and dumped there. The major risk of this was, the accumulated waste is likely to contaminate the nearby water sources, thereby endangering the lives of the people in the village.
This move comes after China, in February, banned non climbers from using the facilities at the Everest base camp in Tibet. This ban was placed in order to ease the cleaning process and make the Everest a cleaner and neater place.
The eco toilets are going to be installed only for the Spring climbing season and will be removed once the period ends.
Stay tuned for more updates.