For adventurers around the world, Mount Everest is an unforgettable sight but, if you take a closer look at the iconic icy vista... you might notice a problem.
Data shows the surface of the ice at base camp in Nepal sits more than 150 feet lower than it did 35 years ago.
Recently a team of 30 scientists fanned out across the Mt. Everest area to collecting hundreds of samples but they found more than just nature’s resources.
They also found microplastics.
Findings from the journal “One Earth” published in National Geographic found although some of the discoveries, like the presence of microplastics, don’t pose an immediate environmental threat, others are much more worrisome.
For one, even the world’s highest glaciers are losing ice at an accelerating rate.
At risk are not only the local communities and the vital mountain tourism industry they rely on, but also the millions downstream who depend on the glaciers for freshwater.
The leader of the research expedition and the director of the climate change institute at the University of Maine says it’s a real wake up call.
While searching through an area 27,500 feet from the top of the mountain, tons of thin, curly fibers of microplastic were found.
These microplastics on everest are largely made up of polyester, followed by acrylic, nylon, and polypropylene—materials all commonly used in outdoor gear.
The plastics were also in greater concentration wherever humans most commonly camp.
Now with more and more human interaction with the mountain – and tourist spot – the question ahead is what does the future hold for Everest and the greater Himalayas?
A top scientist says wherever people go, we leave our imprint, and that imprint is not always positive.