Kathmandu, August 22, 2019:
In a bid to overcome the threat of environmental degradation, the Nepal Government has resolved to make Everest region a ‘plastic-free zone’ by 2020 by banning ‘single-use plastics’.
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According to reports, the executive council of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality in Solukhumbu district made this decision on Wednesday. The new rule will come into effect from January 1, 2020, onwards.
Aiming to draw 2 million foreign visitors, Nepal will launch a campaign next year – “Visit Nepal”.
Chief Administrative Officer of the rural municipality, Ganesh Ghimire, said that plastic items fewer than 30 microns thickness had been banned. These items include plastic bags, straws, soda and water bottles and most food packaging.
“Popular soft drink items like Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Mirinda and other beverages in plastic bottles will not be allowed. But beverages in metal cans will be allowed,” he added.
However, reports said that no penalty had been agreed on for people violating the rule yet.
The municipality will be working with the local body, trekking companies and the
Mountaineering Association of Nepal to enforce the ban of plastic on the environment.
Local households residing in the Khumbu region will be provided with five plastic bags of different types and sizes which they can use for daily activities, said Ghimire.
Hundreds of foreign mountaineers spend a lot of money to conquer the world’s tallest peak every spring season and last year, 56,303 foreign trekkers and mountaineers visited the Everest region.
It is to be mentioned that in 2014, the government introduced a rule forcing each member of an expedition to bring back at least 8 kilograms of collected garbage, in addition to the trash they generate themselves.
As per the rules, each expedition team has to make a $4,000 deposit which is refunded if each climber returns with the 8 kg of waste.
However, there are no such rules for trekkers. The deposit is refunded only if the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee certifies that the y collected all their trash and brought it back down with them.
In last May, the government of Nepal concluded a ‘clean-up drive’ of Everest, collecting nearly 11 tons of trash piled up for decades.
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