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Mt. Everest Cleans Up a Dirty Little Secret

You'd think that a holy spot 30,000 feet in the air would be mess-free — but sadly garbage isn't afraid of heights. Veteran Mt. Everest expedition leader Dawa Steven Sherpa last year was dismayed (and grossed out) to spot human waste on the top of what is considered a holy shrine. He's just announced his eco-friendly solution: the Clean Mountain Can. It is basically a portable, watertight garbage can that affixes to backpacks, making it possible to bring garbage back down the peak.

Since the mountain’s most famous ascension in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay, Everest has been climbed more than 3,000 times accumulating an estimated 10 tons of garbage. Among the heap? Ropes, oxygen bottles and, well, let’s just say there are no toilets. “Sherpas go up the mountain and they take a big load, and when they drop their load, they come down empty.” That's the perfect time for a little litter collection. The plan pays climbers a buck per kilo of crap brought down and not left junking up the landscape. A fund has been established to pay climbers to bring waste back down from their trip.

Is this just the kind of innovation we need to clean up our act?


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