Kathmandu: The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) has urged asked the government to clean up mountains in the country where tourism has been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In his proposal, NMA president Santa Bir said the current partial lockdown period in the country was the right time to clean up the peaks, including Mt Everest.
Nepal has imposed a partial lockdown with the suspension of international flights, long-distance transport services and closure of education institutes.
Nepal's Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation last week suspended permits to climb all mountains in the country and stopped issuing tourist visas.
The Himalayan nations has just one confirmed case of coronavirus, but it is at risk due its location between China and India.
"It is the best time to clean up garbage that has piled up on Nepal's mountain. If we begin the clean-up campaign, it will give a positive message to all mountain lovers of the world," Lama told journalists.
The halting of climbing activities has panicked tourist business owners and other stakeholders, including porters and expedition operators.
However, some mountaineers see this period as an opportunity. "This might be the best time to clean-up the garbage in the mountains that have been piled since many decades," said mountaineer Mingma Dorji Sherpa.
He said people from all quarters have demanded the clean-up of the mountains to preserve it for the future.
Doma Sherpa, Everest summiteer and a journalist by profession, said all stakeholders, including the government, traders and the locals, need to take initiatives to make it clean and preserve its beauty.
Everest summiteer Nima Doma said in her recent Everest-camp III expedition she saw piled-up garbage and even rotting carcass spoiling the beauty of the Himalayas.
Similarly, Jangbu Sherpa, who has successfully climbed Mt Everest 16 times, has welcomed the idea of cleaning the peaks.
"It is wise to clean Everest as there are no climbers in the Everest area in this season," he told an online portal Khabarhub.
Sherpa is excited with the plan saying that such clean-up programme not only helps to make tidy the mountain peaks but also sustain the lives of the locals and the 'sherpas' who as cleaners get employment through the campaign.