4 tons of garbage collected in China's Everest cleanup

In this Monday, May 8, 2017 photo released by Xinhua News Agency, people collect garbage at the north slope of the Mount Qomolangma in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. Workers and volunteers collected four tons of garbage from the Chinese north side of Mount Everest in the first five days of a cleanup operation, state media reported Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Awang Zhaxi/Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING — Workers and volunteers have collected four tons of garbage from the Chinese north side of Mount Everest in the first five days of a cleanup operation, state media reported Thursday.

Hoping to find a more permanent solution, the local government in the Tibet region is setting up stations to sort, recycle and break down the garbage, which includes cans, plastic bags, stove equipment, tents, oxygen tanks and other mountain climbing paraphernalia, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The nine-day cleanup that began Saturday targets climbing trails and campsites between 5,200 and 6,500 meters (17,000 and 21,300 feet).

Parts of Everest are in China and Nepal. Each year, about 60,000 climbers and guides visit the Chinese north side of the mountain, which China refers to by its Tibetan name, Mount Qomolangma.

On the Nepalese side, mountaineering expedition organizers have begun sending huge trash bags with climbers during the spring climbing season to collect trash that then can be winched by helicopters back to the base camp.

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