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New rules for Mt. Everest as climbing season begins

KATMANDU -- Mt. Everest climbing season began this week with new rules that require climbers to bring down their personal garbage, and more security officials at the mountain's base camp to help climbers.

Tourism Ministry official Maddhu Sudan Burlakoti said individual climbers going beyond the base camp will be required to bring down at least eight kilograms (17.6 pounds) of their personal garbage and hand it over to officials stationed there.

It is in the latest attempt from the Nepalese government to clean up the world's highest mountain, which draws hundreds of Western climbers and a steady income for the local and national economy, and produces lots of garbage. Until now, climbing teams were asked to bring down their trash or risk losing a US$4,000 deposit — which wasn't very effective as this wasn't widely enforced.

Burlakoti said officials posted at the base camp would check climbers to make sure that each brings down food wrappings, tents, ropes, clothes, crampons, pegs and gas cans. It was not clear how climbers failing to comply would be punished.

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