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China to ban polluting tourist vehicles near Mt Everest in Tibet

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Beijing, Oct 22 :  China is planning to ban polluting tourist vehicles at the Mount Everest base camp in Tibet from next year as part of its efforts to reduce pollution in the area that has a fragile environment.

Eco-unfriendly tourist transport vehicles will be banned from base camp and permit electric golf-style buggies to raise the income of the locals, China-Tibet Online reported.

Locals, who live below the poverty line, will be employed as tour guides and drivers of new electric golf-style buggies to and from the camp.

“It will help reduce pollution in the area and raise the income of locals,” the state-run Global Times quoted Wangqiong, deputy head of Tingri Tibetan county, as saying.

“This area has a fragile environment and its natural conditions have limited processing capabilities of trash and sewage, which must be handled very carefully,” he said.

Wangqiong said that a professional cleaning company has been hired to maintain the area and every visitor will receive trash bags to promote cleanup.

More than 100,000 people, including 40,000 mountaineers and hikers visited the Everest Base Camp and nearby area in 2017, the state-run Xinhua reported.

Some 2.26 tons of human waste, one ton of mountaineering trash and 5.24 tons of household waste have been removed from the world’s highest peak since April.

A further eight tons of trash was removed between 5,200 meters and 6,500 meters above the sea level, the report said.

Electric buggies are used in scenic spots across China to reduce emissions, Zhang Shangzheng, dean of the tourism management department at Anhui University, told the Global Times.

“If local government chooses charging piles to solve the power issue, such piles must be carefully installed at places that do not influence the water or damage the beautiful scenery,” he said.

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