700 climbers and guides attempt to scale Mount Everest every year - and the waste they leave behind is becoming a health hazard, say Sherpas in Nepal.
The waste is polluting Everest's once pristine slopes, and the chief of Nepal's mountaineering association also claims that the tons of waste left by climbers is threatening to spread disease on the world's highest peak.
According to the Telegraph, human excrement is now a bigger problem than the oxygen bottles, torn tents, broken ladders, and cans or wrappers also left behind on Everest.
Ang Tshering Sherpa, chief of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said the waste poses a health hazard to people dependent on water from rivers fed by the region's melting glaciers.
Hundreds of foreign climbers attempt to scale Everest during Nepal's mountaineering season.
The camps set up for climbers have tents and some essential equipment and supplies, but do not have toilets, the Guardian reports.
"Climbers usually dig holes in the snow for their toilet use and leave the human waste there," Tshering said.
As a result, the waste has been piling up for years.
The problem of waste and litter on Mount Everest has become so bad that Nepal has threatened stricter enforcement of penalties to persuade climbers to clean up after themselves and carry litter back to base camp.
Each climber must bring down 8kgs (18 pounds) of trash to the base camp This is the amount the government estimates a climber discards along the route.
Climbing teams must leave a $4,000 deposit that they lose if they don't comply with the regulations, said Puspa Raj Katuwal, the head of the government's Mountaineering Department.