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The enormous increase of visitors to the Everest (Khumbu) region during the last quarter century has tremendously supported the local economy. Nevertheless, the pressure exerted from tourism has also resulted in increased environmental degradation from waste. The increasing amount of waste produced and stored in the region poses a severe threat to the fragile biodiversity and ecosystem and for the people of the region.
The area lacks sufficient waste management infrastructure to cope with solid waste pollution. If appropriate measures are not taken in time to address this issue, it will have irreparable damage to the fragile mountain environment. The main purpose of this project is to set up a proper system for waste collection, and separate waste by categories so it can be properly managed to prevent negative impact on environmental resources.
The proposed project will provide long-term protection of environmental resources in the Region. Since the first scaling of Mt Everest in 1953, the number of visitors in Khumbu Region has increased greatly: from about 1,400 in 1972-3 to more than 37,000 tourists and approximately 80,000 trekking and expedition staff and porters in 2016.
Significant milestones that will occur during project implementation:
With the funding from ATCF, the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee are proposing the construction of 20 garbage bins along the trekking trails of the Everest region to properly collect, separate and dispose of waste. These bins will be located at various rest points at elevations between 3800m and 5000m.
These permanent garbage bins will help us to keep the trekking trails clean and address some of the current waste management problems in the region.
Expenses (over the two year project) for the project are as follows:
The proposed project will have local community support. As tourism is the main source of income for many people in the Khumbu region, tourism-related businesses such as lodges, restaurants, bakeries, teashops and shops are established in almost every settlement. These enterprises produce tons of garbage including cans, packaging, bottles, papers and kitchen waste in tourist season. SPCC strongly believes that involvement of local communities is a must for managing waste in an effective way and a sustainable manner.
SPCC has created Garbage Management Groups (GMGs) in various settlements, and assigned responsibilities to them. Further, SPCC also extended its partnership with interested existing community-based organizations (CBOs) such as youth groups and women’s groups for garbage management. Currently, we have 23 local partners working in different parts of the Khumbu. With their involvement, waste management in various settlements and along trekking trails has improved significantly.
For this proposed project, we will seek community support in identifying appropriate locations for the installation of garbage bins at various resting points along the trekking trails. Further, our local community partners will be engaged directly in the management of the garbage bins that are located within their surrounding trekking trails and settlements. SPCC provides technical and financial support to our local partners for the management of garbage in their settlements and on surrounding trekking trails.
Our local garbage management partners (youth groups, women’s groups and garbage management groups) from various settlements will partner with us for the effective implementation of the project, especially in identifying appropriate locations in the initial phase of the project and on management of garbage bins after completion of the project.
With the increasing numbers of visitors to the region, waste management is a growing concern and needs immediate attention. SPCC has been working continuously for the past two decades to address this problem. Without permanent collection bins, the waste generated along these popular trails will otherwise be scattered, resulting in pollution in the region.
This project is very important for the sustainable management of waste in the region and will directly help in protecting environmental resources and promoting tourism for the future. If our project is left unfunded, trash will continue to be dumped along trekking trails with negative consequences for the environment and for the image of the destination in the long run.