A team from the Nepali Army has successfully reached the halfway mark of the Mountain Clean-up Campaign 2023, a massive initiative aimed at collecting waste from four prominent mountains: Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Annapurna, and Mt. Baruntse.
Running from March 28th to June 5th, this campaign stands as one of the largest mountain cleanup programs globally. The Coca-Cola Foundation generously contributed as the primary donor, while numerous organizations collaborated to support the cause.
Each year, numerous climbers, Sherpas, and high-altitude porters journey to Everest, inadvertently leaving behind significant amounts of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. This accumulation of waste on the highest peaks creates a daunting challenge for waste management in the mountains.
The campaign team, consisting of 97 dedicated members, including Nepali Army personnel and Sherpa supporters, braved extremely harsh weather conditions, which impeded their cleanup efforts. So far, they have successfully collected 34,166 kg of waste from the four mountains. The retrieved waste includes empty oxygen canisters, abandoned tents, food containers, plastics, glass, aluminum, electronic gadgets, and other items. The team remains committed to achieving their target of collecting 35,000 kg of waste from the mountains this year.
Brigadier General Sundar Kumar Pandey, the Campaign Director of the Mountain Clean-up Campaign 2023, spoke about the ongoing campaign, stating, “The Mountain Clean-up Campaign serves a noble cause of preserving the sanctity of the Himalayas. Despite facing harsher weather conditions and health issues among team members this year, our unwavering dedication has propelled us toward our goal. Through the collaboration of experts, Nepali Army personnel, Sherpas, medical officers, rescue operators, high-altitude porters, and local communities, we have successfully collected waste from not only the usual routes and camps but also from all areas that had accumulated waste.”
The Mountain Clean-up Campaign is an initiative led by the Nepali Army and various stakeholders, focused on protecting the Himalayan environment and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Currently in its fourth series, the campaign has enjoyed the continuous support of The Coca-Cola Foundation as a major donor partner. This year, the campaign’s theme is “An Endeavor to Save the Himalayas,” highlighting the collective responsibility of all stakeholders in safeguarding the delicate ecosystem of the mountains. The teams work closely with local government bodies, stakeholders, and partners to ensure effective and efficient waste collection from the targeted four mountains.
Anand Mishra, founder and President of Creasion and a key partner of the Cleaning Campaign, emphasized the significance of the Mountain Clean-up Campaign in addressing the issue of mountain waste. He stated, “Mountain waste poses a significant challenge in Nepal, diminishing the splendor and significance of our majestic peaks. The Mountain Clean-up Campaign is an immensely valuable endeavor, effectively tackling this issue while raising awareness about the pressing matter. It is our collective responsibility to address the waste in these pristine landscapes. CREASION plays a vital role in co-processing and recycling the collected waste, ensuring its appropriate utilization and fostering sustainable waste management. I am proud and honored to be part of this extraordinary initiative. The extraordinary effort of everyone involved in this campaign to collect and retrieve waste is truly commendable.”
Once the waste collection is complete, the teams will hand it over to the recycling partner for further processing, promoting sustainable waste management practices. Currently, waste collected from Mt. Annapurna and Mt. Baruntse has been successfully handed over to the recycling partner. To raise awareness and encourage public engagement, the Mountain Clean-up Campaign utilizes digital screens in cities such as Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Pokhara, and Bharatpur to showcase their ongoing cleanup efforts. A final celebration