Yes. You read that right. The highest geographical point on earth, surrounded by the most hostile of weather conditions, is the latest corner of the world to report plastic pollution.
The composition in the samples featured mainly polyester, with other fragments of acrylic, nylon and polypropylene, mainly from clothing and camping gear of those who hike the trail. 19 tests were conducted from the base of the mountain to the final rest stop before the summit, and all returned with evidence of contamination. The tests conducted lower down the mountain returned a higher concentration of micro-plastics, highlighting a direct correlation between tourists and pollution.
The dangers in this lie in the fact that the mountain water runs off into freshwater streams, where ecosystems flourish. Freshwater was thought to be less likely to be contaminated by human activity, especially in areas as remote as the Himalayas, but this finding proves that assumption wrong.
Earlier in the year, scientists discovered tiny plastic fragments in samples of Antarctic ice, collected in 2009.
While it is unfortunate that the spread of micro plastics continues, it helps us as consumers to understand how our actions affect our environment, especially when we may not notice we are doing it, and do better.
There is a great opportunity for outdoor clothing companies to develop & use materials that are more friendly to the planet.
And as consumers we can consume more responsibly, investing in high quality, sustainable products and brands that prioritise the environment is a powerful step to take.
Read more on the Mount Everest report here.