Artists from across Nepal created 75 art sculptures out of the 1.7 tonnes of trash collected from Mount Everest. The materials included empty oxygen bottles, food cans, torn tents, ropes, boots, plates, bags, and many other items dumped by climbers and tourists over the years.
The art group is called Da Mind Tree presented their creations at an exhibition in Katmandu, with the aim to raise awareness about protecting the mountain and keeping it clean. The group leader Kripa Rana Shahi stated that by keeping Everest clean, the Nepali protect not only nature, but also their pride.
Since 1953 when the first people to scale Mount Everest – Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, returned, almost 4,000 people have attempted to climb it.
This makes it very hard to monitor the amount of rubbish that is dumped along the way, although there is a $4,000 deposit that is given back only if the climber provides a proof of returning the generated trash.
Snow covers the trash in winter, however it cannot stay hidden as the snow melts. The litter that was used for the art sculptures was collected by the team and carried down with the help of porters and long-haired yaks in 2011.
One of the art creations commemorates these yaks. Another one uses empty oxygen cylinders to represent Buddhist prayer wheels, while a third one shows the location of Mount Everest using yellow, blue and white pieces of empty cans.
The visitors at the exhibition are generally stunned by the trash products. The prices vary between $15 and $2,300, where part of the money goes to the Everest Summiteers’ Association (ESA), which sponsored the initiative. ESA chief Wangchu Sherpa described the event as turning trash into gold.