The Italian Almanac

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mt. Everest

Italian News - July 29

Italian technology is going to help clean up the masses of garbage mountaineers leave every year on mountains like Everest and K2. The new system, called EARTH (Ecological Activity for Refuse Treatment at High-Altitude), was presented Wednesday by its creators - Italian renewable-energy firm Actelios and the National Research Council's Ev-K2-CNR Committee.

The technology processes and breaks the rubbish down, reducing its volume by as much as 97%. It does not need electricity to work, is easy to maintain and is specially designed to function in low-oxygen environments like the Himalayas without generating harmful emissions.

"It is the first time a project like this has been carried out," said Actelios CEO Roberto Tellarini. "EARTH is our response to the challenge of contributing to sustainable development and safeguarding the environment. "The results of the tests have been highly satisfying and so we will be able to start sending the equipment to the Himalayas in September".

Rubbish is a massive problem on the Himalayas, which every year attract increasingly large numbers of mountaineers. Mountaineers often discard stuff like bottles, cans, egg-shells, banana skins and oxygen tanks as the refuse is excess weight in their rucksacks that they want to be rid of. On average 12.8 tonnes of trash, enough to fill four train wagons, are left at Everest's base camp every year.

The first EARTH system will be installed at 3,400 meters above sea level in September in the Baltoro valley, which leads to K2, in Pakistan's Central Karakorum National Park. Another will then be set up at 4,700 metres above sea level in Nepal's Sagarmatha National Park, which plays host to the southern half of Mt Everest.