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Climber collects Everest rubbish

29 May 07 05:08 GMT

A Japanese mountaineer has led an expedition to the top of Mount Everest to retrieve tons of rubbish littering the slopes of the world's highest peak.

Ken Noguchi led a team of Japanese and Nepali climbers and returned with 500kg of tins, old tents, food and medicine left over decades by other climbers.

He estimates he has collected some 9,000kg of rubbish from Mount Everest during his five trips to the peak.

The peak has been often described as the "world's highest rubbish site".

Mr Noguchi said he will display some of the rubbish in Tokyo and Seoul to raise public awareness about keeping the world's most famous mountain clean.

'Decreased'

"During this year's clean-up expedition, I found that the amount of waste left on the mountain has been drastically decreased," he was quoted telling reporters by the Associated Press news agency.

Reports say 50 tonnes of litter have been left on Everest over the past 54 years since Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered the mountain in May 1953.

Experts say that the high altitude, snow and low oxygen levels make it difficult for climbers to ferry the rubbish down from the mountain.

In the past decade, the Nepalese government has made a concerted effort to clean up the world's highest mountain - it makes expeditions pay a deposit, which is only returnable if they bring their rubbish back down.

There have also been a number of expeditions to bring down litter from the mountain.

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