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AUTHORITIES BAN SINGLE-USE PLASTICS FROM MOUNT EVEREST

Americans

There’s no great future in plastics — at least atop Mount Everest, Nepalese authorities said Thursday.

Soft drink bottles and other single-use plastics less than 0.03 millimeters thick won’t be allowed to accompany thrill-seekers on the world’s tallest mountain and other peaks in the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu municipality beginning in January, AFP reports.

“If we start now, it will help keep our region, the Everest and the mountains clean long term,” the municipality’s chief administrative officer, Ganesh Ghimire, told AFP.

More than 50,000 tourists flock to the 29,029-foot peak annually and leave behind mammoth amounts of trash, human excrement, camping gear and other items. In June, crews of volunteers removed more than 24,000 pounds of garbage — along with four dead bodies — amid a hectic and crowded climbing season in which at least 11 people, including two Americans, have died.

Young blonde woman drinks water from a plastic bottle in the mountains.

 

The ban will be enforced with help from airlines, trekking companies and the Nepal Mountaineering Association. Penalties for violators have not yet been set, AFP reports.

The forthcoming move will impact plastic bags, straws, soda and water bottles, as well as most food packaging, the Hindu reports.

“Popular soft drink items like Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Mirinda and other beverages in plastic bottles will not be allowed,” Ghimire told the Indian daily newspaper. “But beverages in metal cans will be allowed.”

Locals in the area, meanwhile, will receive five plastic bags in varying sizes that they can use for daily activities, Ghimire said.

The development comes one week after a government committee in Nepal recommended that climbers aiming for Mount Everest must have successfully summited a peak higher than 21,230 feet before applying for an $11,000 permit to scale the world’s tallest mountain.

The panel also suggested raising the cost of the permit to $35,000 after a record 885 climbers scaled Everest during this year’s March-May climbing season, AFP reports.

Each prospective climber must also have certificates of good health, an experienced guide and insurance to cover hefty rescue costs if necessary, the committee ruled.

Original story from NEW YORK POST