According to a report by the Associated Press in Beijing, China plans to reduce the number of climbers attempting Everest (8848m) - or Mount Qomolangma as it is known in Tibetan - from the north by one-third this year to enable a cleanup operation to take place on the world's highest peak.
An estimated 60,000 climbers, guides and tourists access the Everest region each year, with hundreds making attempts on both sides of the mountain, from the north (Tibet) and south (Nepal). In order to minimise impact on the mountain during the cleanup, the number of climbers permitted to ascend from the north will be limited to less than 300, and the season will be restricted to spring. Work will involve recycling litter left behind on the mountain and sorting abandoned equipment such as oxygen bottles, stoves and tents.
On the Nepalese side, where the mountain is known as Sagarmatha, expedition organisers are attempting to combat the litter situation by encouraging climbers to gather their waste in bin bags provided for removal by helicopter. Cleanup programmes have been run by Nepalese Sherpas for many years, but are now organised by the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC). Sherpas remain involved in collecting the rubbish.
According to The Guardian, the bodies of deceased climbers lying at above 8,000m will also be recovered as part of the Chinese operation.