Everest, this can’t continue: Nepal’s supreme court steps in

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The Supreme Court of Nepal has issued a directive to the government to curb the indiscriminate issuing of climbing permits for Mount Everest, which are currently available to anyone willing to pay $11,000.

The Himalayan Republic’s peaks at risk

Nepal, home to eight of the world’s ten highest peaks, welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring when temperatures are warm, typically around 68°F, and winds are usually calm. However, the situation is worsening as Everest becomes increasingly crowded with climbers who, regrettably, do not always respect the natural environment.

Legal intervention amid environmental Cconcerns

Deepak Bikram Mishra, the lawyer who filed a petition for reducing the number of permits, told AFP that the court had addressed public concerns about Nepal’s mountains and their environment.

A Mounting Waste Management Crisis

An ongoing issue on Everest—and other Himalayan peaks—is the disposal of waste. Tons of garbage, including alarming amounts of plastic, sanitary napkins, trekking gear, and stainless steel bowls and spoons, are continuously found. This has effectively turned these majestic peaks into illegal dumpsites.

Court ruling: a call for respect and regulation

Issued at the end of April but only recently made public, the court’s decision emphasizes the need to respect the mountains and to determine a suitable maximum number of permits. However, the full text of the ruling has not yet been released, and no specific limit on the number of permits has been disclosed.

Record number of permits and consequences

Last year, Nepal issued a record 478 permits for climbers to ascend Everest, which stands at 29,032 feet above sea level. This surge in climbers is not only a waste management issue but also a safety concern, as at least four of the 11 deaths during the peak season were attributed to overcrowding.

Restrictions on helicopter use

The court has also ordered restrictions on the use of helicopters, which should only be employed for emergency rescues. In recent years, helicopters have frequently been used to airlift climbing teams to base camps and hazardous terrains.

A potentially transformative verdict

The ruling aims to improve the safety and environmental conditions of Nepal’s peaks, hopefully leading to a safer and more sustainable future for both the mountains and the adventurers who cherish them.

Source: France24

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