Eco Group: We Need Port-a-Potties on Everest

Environmentalists say excrement is a big problem
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2011 9:57 AM CDT
Eco Group: We Need Port-a-Potties on Everest
Mount Everest seen from the Kalapattar Plateau.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – When you gotta go, you gotta go—even on Everest. And an environmental group says it's high time the mountain has portable toilets. "Human waste is a problem," explains the director of Eco Nepal, who thinks Everest would stay cleaner if the hordes of climbers who brave its slopes had a proper place to do their business. He acknowledges that many groups cart in and out expedition toilet cans, but says many just resort to squatting behind the nearest snowdrift.

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Green groups say human waste and corpses are scattered about Everest, and can take ages to decompose in the frigid temps. The AFP reports that a coalition of waste-minded groups has cleared 880 pounds of excrement from the mountain since 2008 ... along with four bodies and 14 tons of trash. Eco Nepal's head says the South Base Camp toilet proposal is just part of a larger waste management plan that would touch other mountains in the region. But some find fault with the plan. "The ice moves around a lot during the year. If you built toilets at the base camp, the ice would shift and the structures would fall down," counters the head of the Everest Summiteers Association. (Read more Mount Everest stories.)

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