Speed Reads

Nature's Nightmares

Mt. Everest is covered in litter and Nepal is finally doing something about it

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Last year, the world celebrated the 60th anniversary of the first successful effort to reach the peak of Mt. Everest. But the celebration was tempered by activists who brought attention to the tons and tons of garbage that thousands of climbers have left over the years.

While there has always been a rule requiring climbers to pick up after themselves, it's rarely been enforced. But as this year's climbing season kicks off, Nepali authorities are vowing to crack down on litterbugs.

"We are not asking climbers to search and pick up trash left by someone else," Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti, head of the mountaineering department at the Tourism Ministry, told the AP. "We just want them to bring back what they took up."

Climbers who don't return trash after they finish their trek will be forced to forfeit a $4,000 deposit. While it won't do anything to clean up the tons of trash already burdening the slopes, authorities are hopeful that it will at least prevent the problem from getting any worse.