Saving Mount Evererst Clean-Up 2011 - Blog


Waste Management in Khumbu Region – Opinions and Perspectives

Pic 1: Dawa Phuti Sherpa, Paradise Lodge, Lukla
Pic2: Tyangboche
Pic 3: Pheriche
Pic 4: Pheriche
Pic 5: Ang Nuru Sherpa, Himalayan Lodge, Pheriche

Saving Mount Everest Project Support Team has now trekked up to Pheriche 4,260m above sea level on 22nd April. To acclimatize, the team members spend a day in Pheriche and went to Nangkharjong that is about 5100m. The doctor at Himalayan Rescue Association Hospital at Pheriche cautioned that it could be life threatening if trekkers trekking above 3000m do not take time to acclimatize in higher altitude. Pheriche is a very small settlement with just 21 households, of which 13 are lodges. While ascending up to support the Saving Mount Everest Clean-Up Expedition in the Everest Base Camp the team has been interacting with locals and visitors in the region about their opinion on waste management in Khumbu region.

Ms. Dawa Phuti Sherpa, a local businesswoman who runs Paradise Lodge in Lukla and who is also socially active in the region through women’s group and was an ex-member of Sagarmatha National Park Buffer Zone Management Council is of opinion that the waste management has improved remarkably in the past decade but there is still more to do. She has been running her lodge in Lukla since past 20 years. As part of waste management system, beer bottles have been completely banned in the Khumbu region since past eight years, she informed. She also informed that the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC), a local NGO that is responsible of managing waste in the region, initiated this and the locals have been extremely cooperative and supportive in forbidding the use of beer bottles. She opines that both local and visitors are equally responsible to keep the region clean. A waste management system coupled with information and awareness raising programs could provide an effective solution for sustainable waste management in the region.

According to Nima Doma, who runs Tyangboche Guest house, approximately 500 kgs of waste – cans and plastics are generated by individual lodges/hotels during a season. She further added that all canned food, plastic wrapped food and bottled water has to be imported in the region, which costs a lot and in addition disposing these is immensely challenging. She suggested that if all the lodges and hotels in the region promote local cuisine using locally available resources, then it could significantly reduce the non-biodegradable waste in the region and at the same time promote the rich Sherpa culture.

Ang Nuru Sherpa, owner of Himalayan Lodge in Pheriche informed that in Pheriche village, every first day of the month, the villagers gather to clean the village and manage their waste. The villagers love this village and cooperate with each other very well to keep it clean. Thus believes that in small communities, the community’s own initiation can keep the village clean. For wastes like plastic bottles, he suggests that it should be prohibited from being used in the region as burning it is the only option at present, which is definitely pollutes the pristine environment of Khumbu region.   

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