China plans to clean up Mount Everest in the first half of next year and wants to limit the number of climbers to protect the sensitive environment on the world's highest mountain, an official said.
Rubbish left by climbers and tourists on the worlds highest peak which straddles China and Nepal will be cleared, Zhang Yongze, director of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Bureau of Environment Protection was quoted as saying by official Xinhua news agency.
"We need to limit the number of people who want to climb Mt Qomonlangma (Mt Everest) who exert a negative impact on the environment," he told Xinhua in an interview.
"We also need to strengthen the management of commercial activities involving it," he said but did not specify the details of the plan, including those for limiting the number of climbers.
The 8,848 metre Mt. Everest, an attraction for top climbers, has seen ascents to the summit by over 2400 people by the end of the 2007 climbing season. Climbers are also a significant source of revenue to Nepal, which requires them to obtain an expensive permit.
"We dont want so many visitors to disturb the peak," Zhang said.
Apart from human activities, global warming has led to the shrinking of the glacier, he said. The Bureau, Zhang said, would work with the Tibet Mountaineering School for the clean up drive.
Mountaineers had taken a special Beijing Olympic flame to the Everest summit last month in the first such milestone in Olympic history.
"We have carried out strict control over the waste disposal in the torch relay and preparations," Zhang said.
"Every team, such as the climbers and journalists (covering the event), was ordered to clear away their rubbish. We set up two environment-friendly toilets at the Base Camp," he said.