The Mount Everest area is a destination for climbers and trekkers from all over the world. While visiting our world’s highest mountain, climbers, trekkers, and walkers take away great memories, lots of photos and new friends, but leave behind their untreated waste. This needs to stop. At the Mount Everest Biogas Project our mission is to convert human waste from base camp into environmentally safe products for the people of Nepal, by designing a biogas system that can operate at high altitudes (above 5000 meters / 16,400 feet). The area is the home to the summit peaks of Mt. Everest, Pumori, Lhotse and Nupste. Mt Everest serves as the ultimate challenge and lifelong goal for hundreds of climbers every season. Climbers come to the mountain to participate in one of the world’s most prestigious events – a summit attempt to the top of the world on Mt. Everest or one of its sister peaks.
The base camps for Everest and the other peaks in Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal are the expeditions’ summit climb beginning. These base camps host the climbers for weeks as they prepare physically and mentally for the challenge ahead. These camps have also, over the years, been scarred by human impact. With so many people in such a limited space, the challenge of limiting pollution due to human waste has persisted.
The Nepal Sagarmatha Park and Nepalese government have led efforts to control the environmental impact issue. Their regulations now require the climbing teams to clean and pack out refuse and waste from the base camps to the summit camps. The effort has been hugely successful, but its focus is primarily on removing all wastes from the base camps and climbing routes. The human waste is still being dumped at lower elevations into open pits. Our project will focus on the issue of human waste disposal and treatment for these lower elevation communities.