By Paul Lachapelle, Environmental Program, University of Vermont Burlington, VT & School for International Training, Kathmandu, Nepal Spring 1995


I would like to thank the following people for their help in preparing this report: Robert McConnell from the Everest Environmental Project, Ang Nima Sherpa and Dorjee Lama from the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee in Namche Bazar, and Nona Morris and Todd Nachowitz from the School for International Training.



Research Methodology
Inhabitants in the Park
Past Studies
Comparisons to Other Protected Areas in Nepal
Waste Management Education Programs
Sherpa Composting Methods
Lodge Toilet Survey
Waste Management at Trekking Lodges
Public Toilets
Waste Management in Namche Bazar
Flush Toilets and Septic Tanks
Trekking Groups and Toilet Tents
Waste Management at Base Camps
Solar Toilet Projects


Nepal has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Mortality rates for all children in Nepal up to age 5 is 16.5% with diarrhea related illnesses associated with poor sanitation being the main cause (Burbank 1992). Intestinal illnesses can be acquired by the consumption of water contaminated with human or animal waste. Each year in Nepal about 44,000 children die of diarrheal diseases; yet if an assured potable water supply and proper sanitation facilities could be provided, more then 50% of the problems associated with diarrhea could be overcome (Ali 1991).

Every year over 10,000 tourists and countless numbers of porters and guides enter Sagarmatha National Park (SNP) creating a tremendous stress on the local environment. SNP, located in the Khumbu region of northeastern Nepal, is home to spectacular mountain scenery and the well-known Sherpa people. Since 1950 when Nepal opened its borders to tourists, the Khumbu region has been transformed from an isolated mountain area to one of the most popular travel destinations in Asia.

The state of some of the public and trekking lodge toilets within SNP is alarming. Many of the toilets are not maintained, completely full and have effluent leaking into nearby potable water sources. Furthermore, neither the SNP or the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) has the budget, staff or technical training to overcome the waste management problems caused by tourism.

The objectives of this study are to: 1) observe the toilet facilities used by tourists within SNP, 2) assess sanitary and unsanitary conditions at these toilets, 3) analyze waste disposal techniques, 4) outline traditional Sherpa composting toiletry methods, 5) make recommendations.

According to former SNP Warden (1983-1986) Lhukpa Sherpa and current SPCC Project Officer Mingma Norbu Sherpa, no comprehensive study has ever been done on waste management in SNP (Lhukpa Sherpa 1995, Mingma Norbu Sherpa 1995).

Clearly, environmental problems in mountain areas go far beyond tourism and human waste. Deforestation, over-population, over-grazing, poverty and cultural erosion are common and threaten many mountain areas of Nepal. The government of Nepal is now hoping to increase the number of tourists from the present 300,000 per year to 1,000,000 by the end of the century (Ali 1994). The tourism industry is one of the largest earners of foreign currency in Nepal and in 1993 equaled $72 million (US). Tourism is therefore an important component of the Nepalese economy.

Funds are limited and do not reach many development projects in SNP. Furthermore, the implementation of appropriate toilet projects can be difficult. According to Dr. Sudhirendar Sharma, journalist and environmental scientist associated with the Energy and Environment Group in New Delhi, India, "talking about toilets is not glamorous and to raise funds for toilets is even more daunting. To describe to an audience the significance of toilets, keeping it entertaining but avoiding an excess of lavatorial humor, is possibly the ultimate challenge development workers face today" (Dixit 1992).

The expression "tourism is thus not only the goose that lays golden eggs, but it also fouls its own nest" couldn't be more applicable (Bezruchka 1991).

Research Methodology

The author visited SNP from 12 April 1995 to 6 May 1995. The information in this report was gathered by the author using a series of formal and informal interviews with people involved in mountain management, education, conservation and administration. These people included the former and current SNP Wardens, SPCC personnel, members of the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP), the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MTCA), Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), and the Everest Environmental Project (EEP). In addition, members of trekking groups, lodge owners, homeowners and tourists were interviewed. Personal observations of public, trekking lodge, hotel, trekking group, expedition and private home toilets were recorded. A survey of lodge toilets was undertaken to determine the type of toilet used, obvious leakage and proximity to potable water sources. Books, reports and magazine articles on mountain conservation and waste management were also used to supplement information in this report. A photographic record was kept to document certain toilet facilities. Note: all of the village name spellings and elevations have been taken from the Schneider Khumbu Himal 1:50.000 map 1993 edition.


The Khumbu region, located in northeastern Nepal, is home to SNP and Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha), the tallest mountain in the world (see appendix A and B). The upper Khumbu region was designated as a National Park by the Nepalese government in 1976 and as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1979. SNP is eligible for finance from the World Heritage Fund and receives an annual budget from the National Treasury of Nepal.

The Park is 1,113 square km in size and borders the 35,000 square km Qomolangma Nature Preserve to the north in Tibet and the 2,330 square km Makalu- Barun National Park and Conservation Area (MBNPCA) in Nepal to the east. Elevations in the Park range from 2,805 meters at the Park entrance in Jorsale to the 8,848 meter summit of Mt. Everest. The Bhote Kosi, Imja Khola and the Dudh Kosi rivers flow southward through SNP, tributaries of the Ganges River in India. The Park is made up of three distinct vegetational zones; forested lower zones made up of oak, pine, birch and rhododendrons, alpine mid zones where dwarf rhododendron and juniper scrub dominate, and the upper alpine zones made up of moss and lichen.

Average precipitation within the Park at Tengpoche is 1,078 mm per year, 845 mm of which falls between June and September (SNP visitor center data). Average mean minimum and maximum temperatures at Tengpoche in the coldest month of January is -9o C and 3o C and in the warmest month of July is 4o C and 14o C (SNP visitor center data).

Within the Park, the MTCA has determined certain mountains to be either expedition or trekking peaks. Mt. Everest, Lhotse (8501 m), Cho Oyu (8153 m), Pumori (7145 m), and Ama Dablam (6856 m) are among the expedition peaks. Trekking peaks, ranging in elevation from 5650 meters to 6500 meters, include Island Peak (6189 m), Loboche (6145 m) and Pokalde (5745 m).

SNP headquarters is located in Namche Bazar and contains administrative offices, park staff housing and a visitor center. SNP employs about 60 staff in the Park (McGuinness 1993). Inhabitants in the Park

Traditionally traders and subsistence farmers, the Sherpa people are believed to have migrated from Tibet into the Park region 400 to 500 years ago. Tourism in the Park has greatly affected the lives of the Sherpa people. Tourism is now the main source of income in the region and on average, one member from every household in the Park is involved in the trekking industry (Mingma Norbu Sherpa 1985).

Although tourism has brought increased income, development projects and even electricity to some regions of the Park, it has also had negative effects. Tourism has directly and indirectly brought about shrinking forest reserves, inflation of staple goods, dependence on cash incomes and imported food supplies, and the rapid decline of cultural features such as dialect, rituals, folk songs and dances (Lhukpa Norbu Sherpa 1992).

A survey in 1979 of SNP revealed 3,500 inhabitants; 860 in the adjoining villages of Khumjung and Khunde, 700 in the Bhote Kosi valley, 500 in Namche Bazar, 300 in Pangpoche, 300 in Phortse and less than 40 in each of the villages of Jorsale, Dingpoche, Tengpoche, Deboche, Milingo and Pheriche (Jefferies 1985). Under legal definition, villages are excluded from Park authority. Tourism

Tourism has grown considerably in the Khumbu since 1964 when only 20 tourists visited the region. Between July 1993 and July 1994, 12,824 tourists entered SNP (SPCC visitor center data). For this same period the number of tourists per month were as follows; July-98, August-208, September-1780, October-3694, November-1148, December-1029, January-331, February-908, March-2047, April-1272, May-272, June-67 (SPCC visitor center data). The most popular tourist months are September through December and March through May. The majority of tourists enter through the Jorsale checkpost. All tourists must pay a NRs 650/- ($13 US) entrance fee. SNP personnel do not record the number of porters or guides who enter the Park.

Trekkers spend an average of 14 days in the Park. 53% of the tourists who come to SNP are part of a pre-arranged trekking group employing Nepalese guides and porters (Armington 1994).

Air access to the Khumbu and the lower elevations of the Solu region to the south has contributed to the increase in tourism in the Park. Presently, there are three airstrips in the Solu-Khumbu region, located in the villages of Phaplu, Lukla and Syampoche, which bring in over a dozen flights a day. Recently introduced daily helicopter service from two carriers now brings in tourists and can also transport over three tons of cargo per flight (Odell 1995 a).

The first lodges were built in the early 1970s and were simply Sherpa homes with signboards out front. From 1973 to 1991, the number of lodges grew from 7 to 81 and in Namche Bazar, almost all of the big lodges have been built with financial assistance from foreign sponsors (Stevens 1993). Currently, the Bhote Kosi valley above Thame is closed to tourists.


Both SNP and SPCC have built public toilets in the Park for tourists, porters, park staff and residents. The majority of trekking lodges have some type of toilet facility. Unfortunately, most of the public toilets are not maintained on a regular basis and many lodge toilets have urine and fecal matter visibly leaking. Furthermore, many lodge toilets are built on hills and the open side of the toilet is free to discharge its' contents to nearby water sources. The heavy rain period between June and September can potentially wash out the contents of these open toilets into potable water supplies.

Regulations at base camps and for trekking groups concerning human waste are minimal and to a large extent not enforced. Latrine construction and maintenance training programs for lodge owners do not take place. Monitoring of public toilets in the Park and the enforcement of baseline sanitation standards does not exist.

New and alternative waste management options are being initiated. Presently in SNP, two solar toilet projects are researching the feasibility of using passive solar power to dehydrate waste, reducing its volume and sterilizing the end product. According to Stan Armington, Himalayan trekking veteran and author of Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya, waste management "is the biggest problem in SNP" (Armington 1995).

Past Studies on Waste Management

Although this may be the first comprehensive report on waste management in SNP to date, in the past, others have made recommendations or tested water sources to document coliform contamination. Coliform bacteria is an indicator organism to reveal if a substance is contaminated by fecal matter.

Dr R.B. Khadka reported in a paper presented at a seminar organized by the Tourist Guide Association of Nepal (TURGAN) in 1990 that the "examination of drinking water in the Everest region revealed even up to 4,000 coliform bacteria per liter of water which is sufficiently high enough to induce an illness" (Khadka n.d.).

In 1985, current Director of World Wildlife Fund Nepal (WWF), Mingma Norbu Sherpa, stressed that in SNP "the state of sewerage systems and sanitation is very poor or nonexistent and requires serious consideration...What few toilet facilities there are along trekking routes are in a poor state of repair and are unhygienic...and even contaminate surrounding rivers and streams" (Mingma Norbu Sherpa 1985). Sherpa goes on to recommend that "drinking water and toilet facilities for local people as well as for tourists should be provided by construction of suitable water systems and toilets. Financial support for demonstrations of construction and training should be provided in so far as is possible" (Mingma Norbu Sherpa 1985).

Although public toilet facilities for tourists have been created by both SNP and SPCC, consistent maintenance of these facilities is lacking. Furthermore, no construction and/or training programs for local people dealing with human waste disposal has taken place to date (Dorjee Lama 1995).

Comparisons to Other Protected Areas in Nepal

Currently, programs on latrine construction, education and maintenance are being initiated in other Parks and Protected Areas of Nepal.

The Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) in the central region of Nepal is visited by over 40,000 tourists annually. A 1987/1988 ACAP report states that ACAP is continuing its program of providing loans and technical assistance to lodge owners for latrine construction (ACAP 1988). The most recent ACAP program report states that ACAP financed 84 private toilets at Pas Gaon, 12 community and 32 private toilets in Bhujung village and installed an improved toilet at a camp-site in Bhraka village (ACAP 1994).

The Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area (MBNPCA) in northeastern Nepal was officially gazetted in 1991 and is beginning to become a popular tourist area. Less than 1,000 tourists enter the area annually. A Park report states that "to avoid the creation of a mine field of toilet holes, MBNP will construct latrines at every designated campsite. Latrines will be designated either to be moved periodically when the pits fill up, to compost the waste into fertilizer or to otherwise reduce waste to organic matter (Tourism Management Plan for the Upper Barun Valley 1995).

In the Langtang National Park (LNP) north of Kathmandu, Nepal, the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) is subsidizing the installation of five public toilets at popular tourist destinations in the Langtang Valley (Shakya 1995). All of these toilets will have buried cement septic tanks using buckets of water for flushing (see appendix C). The first toilet will be installed in the Spring of 1995 at the Lama Hotel. The four remaining toilets will be built at the Bamboo Hotel, the Kyanjin Gompa and in the villages of Saybro and Gosainkund over the next five years. Cleaning and maintenance will be administered by Village Development Committees and by LNP personnel. A fee of 1 NRs will be charged to tourists for use. Porters and locals will not be charged for use. The septic tanks are expected to fill within two to three years and the contents will then be buried in fields.

Waste Management Education Programs

Presently, many organizations are involved in providing education for proper waste disposal to tourists, locals and those in the trekking industry. This education is in the form of pamphlets, workshops and information from personnel at visitor centers. These organizations include SPN, SPCC, KEEP, ACAP, MNA, MTCA, and the Himalayan Guides for Responsible Tourism (HGRT).

The SPCC has the largest impact in the Park regarding education for tourists and locals. SPCC was started in July 1991 with the help of the WWF Nepal Programme, the active support of the local community and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). SPCC has visitor centers open to tourists in Lukla and Namche Bazar. SPCC is Khumbu based with locals making up the 13 member staff and 11 member elected committee which is chaired by the Rimpoche of Tengpoche monastery. To date, WWF has given SPCC over NRs 2.5 million and in 1994 SPCC received a NRs 3 million grant from MTCA (Himal Sept/Oct 1994). SPCC has sponsored two lodge owner training courses but neither dealt with the subject of human waste management (Dorjee Lama 1995).

KEEP provides free information and advice to trekkers at its visitor center located in Thamel, Kathmandu. KEEP has also sponsored several "ecotrekking workshops" for those employed in the trekking business. Sanitary waste treatment techniques were only covered briefly (Kayastha 1995).

SPCC, DNPWC, KEEP, ACAP, MTCA and NMA all provide free pamphlets to tourists and mountaineers on mountain conservation and light impact trekking. The SPCC pamphlet indicates the locations of some of the public toilets in the Park (see appendix D). All of these organizations advise trekkers to use existing toilet facilities or to choose a spot at least 30 meters away from water supplies and to bury excreta. The ACAP pamphlet suggests carrying a small shovel to bury waste.

The NMA exists to regulate mountaineering groups and ensure compliance of regulations. The NMA Climbing Rules pamphlet states that "in snow, a concentration of waste will not decompose; so defecate in individual small holes that you can cover with snow after use. Ideally, if you can find an isolated spot which has little chance of being seen by someone else then defecate on the surface to expose your feces to the sun" (NMA Climbing Rules pamphlet n.d.). In January 1992, NMA launched a "Clean Himal Campaign", but this campaign mentioned nothing in regards to human waste management.

The HGRT is an organization devoted to educating guides and porters in Nepal and distributes a newsletter called "Ecotrek".

Sherpa Composting Methods

In many villages throughout the Khumbu region, home and lodge owners compost the human waste deposited in toilets. The waste is mixed with a carbon source such as leaves, pine needles, alpine scrub, dried dung, dirt and/or fire ashes. As the waste collects in the toilet, the carbon source is added to the waste pile. The carbon helps to eliminate odors and the presence of flies. After many months of decomposition, the waste is mixed into fields. Although the Park does not allow leaves to be collected from Park forests, according to SNP Ranger Eak Bahadur Rana "our duty is conservation but we understand the situation of the Sherpas" (Rana 1995).

Composted human waste and animal manure plays an important role in Sherpa agriculture. According to Stanley Stevens, "manure, forest leaves and needles and composted human waste are all used for fertilization. Composted toilet wastes are considered the richest of these, followed by sheep and goat manure and cattle dung" (Stevens 1993).

In Namche Bazar (el. 3440 m), the composted human waste is mixed into the fields at the end of February, two weeks before potatoes are planted, when there is approximately six cm of snow on the ground (Gyaljen Sherpa 1995). In villages at different elevations, the waste is spread and mixed a few weeks earlier or later, depending on the amount of snow on the ground and the length of the growing season. In Khumjung (el. 3790 m), the waste is mixed in early April and in Dragnag (el. 4690 m), at the end of April. In the village of Phakding (el. 2652 m), a four hour walk south of the Park entrance, the waste is spread in early February and the potatoes are planted soon after. In July, the potatoes are harvested and waste is spread on the fields and potatoes are planted once again (Tej Lama 1995).

In Namche Bazar, this method of waste disposal has been going on "for generations" and is used by almost all of the houses and trekking lodges in and near Namche Bazar (Gyaljen Sherpa 1995). Since the waste is more difficult to transport than animal manure, most of the composting toilets are located adjacent to fields.

The Sherpa people do not empty their own toilets and so must hire outside laborers to remove the compost from the toilets to the fields. A Tibetan, whose full name is Thopgyal, has been cleaning out all of the house and trekking lodge toilets in the Namche area for the last six to seven years (Thopgyal 1995). He states that emptying toilets and spreading compost can be very lucrative and that within the one month of February, he can make NRs 6,000/- ($120 US).

In the settlement of Dragnag, Mountain Goat Lodge owner Lhakpa Dorjee Sherpa claims to have the highest potato fields in Nepal. The lodge toilet is also the highest composting toilet in SNP. Local porters are paid approximately NRs 50/- ($1 US) to empty the toilet. Sherpa claims that composted human waste is the best fertilizer but does not understand why his cousins new lodge in the same village will have a pit toilet. He states, "my cousin has potato fields but he is still going to build a pit toilet. Those toilets are smelly and cost NRs 3,000/- ($60 US) to empty after three years. The villages of Dole, Machhermo and Luza are the same. There are potato fields there but the lodges have pit toilets. I don't understand" (Lhakpa Dorjee Sherpa).

Norbu Gyaljen Sherpa, owner of the Island Peak View Lodge, maintains a composting toilet at his lodge in Dingpoche. Sherpa explains that half of the other lodges in Dingpoche don't compost human waste because of the fact that with pit toilets, the owners don't need to collect leaves and don't need to empty the toilets yearly. It can also be difficult to find people to empty the toilets every year. Sherpa points out that "in the long run, it's less expensive to have a composting toilet and they don't smell" (Norbu Gyaljen Sherpa 1995).

Lodge Toilet Survey

The lodge toilet survey evaluated the type of toilet used by each lodge. Each toilet was evaluated to determine whether effluent was visibly leaking or had the potential to leak. Each toilet was placed into one of six categories which were: 1) Open Elevated (OE), 2) Closed Elevated (CE), 3) Open Pit (OP), 4) Closed Pit (CP), 5) Open Composting (OC), 6) Closed Composting (CC).

OE toilets are raised above ground either on flat, terraced or inclined areas. The waste is accessible via an unloading area which is usually on the downhill side of the toilet. The unloading area starts at ground level, goes to the floor of the outhouse and is the width of the outhouse. CE toilets are also elevated above the ground but the unloading area is blocked with rocks, wood or a door. Waste in both toilets is stored at ground level, and can potentially leak. However, the OE toilets are more prone to leakage because no physical barrier blocks the unloading area.

OP toilets are holes dug in the ground but the floor of the outhouse is raised above ground. The unloading area is located between the outhouse floor and the ground. These toilets are prone to leakage if the effluent rises above ground level. CP toilets use holes in the ground and the waste is completely inaccessible unless the outhouse structure is removed. OC and CC toilets are similar in design to OE and CE toilets except that a carbon source such as leaves are mixed in with the waste.

Lodges in the following villages were not surveyed because they were not on the authors route: Phortse, Na, Thare, Bibre and Chhukhung. 125 lodges were observed for the survey. 20% or 25 of the lodges in the Park provided no toilet facilities for their clients. 10.4% of the lodges had effluent that was visibly leaking from the toilet. 7.2% of the lodges used OE toilets and 2.4% of the lodges used CE toilets. 4.8% of the lodges used OP toilets and 21.6% used CP toilets. 44% of the lodge toilets composted the waste, 7.2% using OC toilets and 36.8% using CC toilets. 53.6% of the toilets in the Park have effluent collected at ground level and are therefore prone to leakage.

The following lodges are among the 10.4% having effluent leaking from their toilets: Namche Bazar - Kala Patar Lodge, Khumbila Lodge, Buddha Inn Hotel Phorste Tanga - Himalayan Lodge & Restaurant Luza - Kangtega View Lodge Gokyo - Nameste Lodge, Gokyo Resort Gorak Shep - all three Lodges Tengpoche - Himalayan View Lodge Phunki - Thamserku View Lodge, Khangthaka Lodge & Restaurant

The Thamserku View Lodge toilet in Phunki is situated on the top of a steep bank, eight meters above the Imja Kola. A four cm PVC pipe directs running water on top of the waste pile, washing out the contents of the toilet so that effluent easily enters the river.

The following villages have no toilet facilities at their lodges or more then one lodge shares a single toilet: Village # of Lodges # of Toilets Samde - 3 0 Dzongla - 2 0 Milinggo - 1 0 Orsho - 1 0 Dugla - 3 1 Sanasa - 3 1 Dole - 3 2 Mon La - 4 3 Thame - 5 3 Gokyo - 6 3 Pheriche - 6 4 Pangpoche - 7 4 Dingpoche - 10 9 Samde - 3 0 Dzongla - 2 0 Milinggo - 1 0 Orsho - 1 0 Dugla - 3 1 Sanasa - 3 1 Dole - 3 2 Mon La - 4 3 Thame - 5 3 Gokyo - 6 3 Pheriche - 6 4 Pangpoche - 7 4 Dingpoche - 10 9

Many of these lodges were built within the last several years and are planning on constructing toilet facilities soon.

Waste Management at Trekking Lodges

In SNP, neither the Park authorities of the SPCC has any regulations regarding trekking lodge toilets. Lodge toilets are not monitored by SNP or SPCC staff. Furthermore, no money is given for lodge owner training or construction of toilets.

SPCC Project Officer Mingma Norbu Sherpa admits that "we must approach lodge owners carefully because villages are not a part of the Park" (Mingma Norbu Sherpa 1995). Former SNP Warden Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa believes that toilet construction and maintenance should be driven by economics and that waste management "should be the individual responsibility of the lodge owner and should not involve the Park" (Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa 1995).

According to current SNP Warden Megh B. Pandey, "what is needed is self- consciousness on the part of the locals. They need to care about their own environment" (Pandey 1995). Concerning leaking and un-maintained toilet facilities he states, "legally, I have the authority to reprimand lodge owners with inappropriate toilets because the leaking toilet affects areas outside the village. But if I go to one lodge owner, he will point his finger and say, `what about that lodge owner', and so on. There needs to be a sense of hygiene amongst the residents of the Park" (Pandey 1995).

MBNPCA Co-manager Dr. Malcolm Odell states that "it makes good business sense for lodges to provide sanitary facilities. Sherpas now realize that sanitation means bucks. If people see a clean toilet, they assume the lodge is clean and the food safe" (Odell 1995 b).

Unfortunately, in the high-tourist-volume, low-lodge-availability locations such as Gokyo, Gorak Shep, Loboche, Phortse Tenga and Phunki, tourists stay at certain lodges regardless of the toilet facilities. In Gokyo, three of the six lodges have wood stoves and trekkers go to these lodges on cold nights. According to one trekker, "when it's cold, you stay where it's warm or if you are tired, you stay where you can, regardless of the toilets" (Jorand Gmunder 1995). Furthermore, many lodge toilets are out of sight from the trail or the unloading area is not visible, so the tourist is not able to see the leaking effluent.

Lodges at high elevations have difficulty constructing pit toilets because of low soil depth or depositing wastes because of cold temperatures. The owner of the Nameste Lodge in Gokyo reports that the toilet can only be emptied at certain seasons because the ground is frozen. He states, "if the toilet fills up, there is nothing we can do" (Ang Gyaljen Sherpa 1995).

Public Toilets

Both SNP and SPCC have built public toilets in the Park for tourists, porters, park staff and residents. SNP has built public toilets in Jorsale (2805 m), Thope Danda (3190 m), Namche Bazar (3440 m), Dole (4040 m), Syampoche (3760 m) and Gokyo (4750 m).

The toilet at the Park entrance in Jorsale was built in 1985 and is a CP style toilet with three stalls. The facility has one door that is broken and unusable and the two other doors will not latch. A section of the tin roof is unattached. The toilet appeared un- maintained due to the presence of dried excreta on the floor. There is no sign indicating the structure is a toilet.

The toilet in Thope Danda, a one house settlement 250 meters below Namche Bazar, was built in 1994. It is an OE toilet with the unloading area on the downhill side of the toilet. The toilet appeared un-maintained due to the presence of dried excreta on the floor and toilet paper in the nearby woods. This toilet is located at a high use area for tourists and porters traveling to Namche Bazar. A small sign marked "toilet" is attached to the structure.

The public toilet located at the Park Headquarters in Namche Bazar was built in 1989. This toilet is used primarily by tourists because of its location near the visitor center. The structure is an OP toilet built with rock walls which are sealed with cement. There are 4 stalls marked for men and women. The toilet has not yet been emptied (Rana 1995). The unloading area of the toilet is open and the waste is ten cm from the top. Two trenches have been dug from the unloading area and extend ten meters downhill behind the toilet. The toilet has one broken window and the four doors do not latch. A sign for the toilet is located at the visitor center.

SNP built a CP toilet at the airstrip area of Syampoche in 1993. The toilet is unmarked and partially hidden behind juniper trees and is therefore difficult to find. There is no "toilet" sign. SNP has built a four stall CP style toilet in Gokyo. Three of the six lodges in Gokyo have no toilets and the clients of these lodges use this toilet. The village of Gokyo is primarily frequented by overnight tourists because of its isolated location. SNP operates a checkpost near Dole and has a CP toilet facility that tourists can use. SNP has also built toilets for park staff at residential sites and checkposts in Deboche, Phurte and at the Park headquarters in Namche. The three staff toilets at the headquarters are OP-style toilets with trenches leading downhill from the unloading area. According to SNP Ranger Rana who has been living in the Park for three years, "I don't even like to use our own toilets" (Rana 1995).

SNP plans to build toilets in Khumjung and Thamo for public use which will be open in June 1995 (Rana 1995). According to SNP Warden Pandey, "I don't have the manpower or the money to maintain these toilets, but if I had the budget, the toilets would be maintained regularly." He goes on to say that "all the public toilets in the Park should be maintained by the SPCC, after all, their name is pollution control" (Pandey 1995). SPCC monitors toilets in Lukla (2800 m), two in Namche Bazar, three in Tengpoche (3867 m), two in Thame (3800 m), Loboche (4930 m) and is constructing toilets in Pangpoche (3985 m) and Chhukhung (4730 m). All of these public toilets are inspected and cleaned once a month by SPCC staff (Dorjee Lama 1995).

The public toilet in Lukla, located near the airstrip was built by MTCA but has been maintained by SPCC staff since 1994. The toilet has a cement septic tank and was built in 1985.

In Namche Bazar, there are two public toilets at two different locations (see appendix E). The largest toilet is located ten meters south of the market area and was built by the New Zealand Youth Club in 1989. The structure is a OP style toilet with 2 unloading areas at ground level. Effluent is now leaking out of the toilet and downhill via a two meter long trench that extends from the unloading area to the hill. The toilet is situated 15 meters above one of two main trails leading into Namche. The smell of excrement was noted by the author on this trail. SPCC staff pays laborers to empty the toilet, the contents of which is buried in nearby holes. Namche farmers don't want the waste because it has not been mixed with leaves and in Namche there is enough composted human waste for the fields (Dorjee Lama 1995). Namche Bazar resident Kumar Baraily is concerned with the open meat that is displayed during the weekly Saturday market. He states that "the wind blows from behind the toilet and the market area smells like the toilet. More importantly, the meat could be contaminated because wind can blow particles from the toilet onto the meat and could cause illnesses to my children" (Baraily 1995). A new CE-style public toilet was opened in Namche in April 1995 and has an unloading area facing downhill. The waste sits at ground level and the toilet is situated 25 meters above the potable water supply leaving Namche. There is no sign indicating the structure is a toilet.

There are two public toilets in Tengpoche. Each are CE toilets with two stalls. The doors of the unloading area on all three toilets face downhill and are broken. One of the two doors on each of the toilets is missing and regular maintenance is obviously lacking because of excrement on the outhouse floor. The Tengpoche Development Plan, prepared by Michael Schmitz, is addressing problems of water, toilets and environmental degradation in the area. A new sewage and toilet system is expected to cost NRs 500,000/- ($10,000 US) and be completed by 1997. The designer hopes to "construct an open sewerage channel which will lead to a larger hole where the waste could be properly treated and then used as fertilizer for the surrounding natural environment (Schmitz 1994). The plan calls for the construction of 10 toilets and an open channel 50 meters long.

The SPCC office in Namche advertises the installation of a solar toilet in Loboche, however only a CP-style toilet is present. This toilet has a sign indicating it is a public toilet. The toilet was built in 1993 and has three stalls. Dried excreta was present on the floor of the toilet.

Public toilets were completed and opened in April 1995 in Pangpoche and Chhukhung. The toilet Pangpoche is a CE toilet and is situated on the main trekking path through the village. There is no sign indicating that the structure is a toilet. A nearby lodge owner will add leaves to the toilet periodically in exchange for the composted waste (Nima Dorjee Sherpa 1995). He claims that "SPCC will clean out the toilet every year and I'll add the leaves so that the toilet doesn't smell." Two public toilets are located in Thame near the Gompa. One of the toilets is located on the main path 25 meters below the Gompa and the other just above the Gompa to the east. The toilet on the main path has two stalls. Both doors have broken hinges and are not able to move. The toilet near the Gompa has dried excreta on the floor. Neither toilet has signs.

Ang Nima Sherpa, a teahouse owner in Khunde, notes that many tourists use his families' toilet on the trail to the hospital. He states, "we have to lock our toilets like in Namche" (Ang Nima Sherpa 1995). Waste Management in Namche Bazar

There is no running water in any of the houses or lodges in Namche Bazar and so water must be carried from a spring located near the highest water driven prayer wheel in the center of the village (see appendix E). This spring also serves the residents of Syampoche and Chhorkung. According to trekking group leader Diane McKinnon, "Namche is renowned for having bad water" (McKinnon 1995). Namche lodge owner Dorjee Sherpa states that "pollution from toilets is the biggest problem in Namche Bazar. When it rains, the toilets drain into the water" (Dorjee Sherpa 1995).

Namche Bazar has 23 lodges, 20 of which mix leaves or pine needles in with the waste. Several of the lodge toilets are open and leakage is visible. The Kala Patar Lodge and Restaurant, run by Ang Norbu Sherpa, is expanding from 22 to 50 beds and will be opening in September 1995 (Ang Norbu Sherpa 1995). The present toilet is located ten meters uphill from the public drinking water supply and effluent is visibly leaking from the toilet. The Khumbila Lodge and the Buddha Inn Hotel have open composting toilets with visible leakage. These two toilets are located less then 30 meters from the public water supply.

Although the majority of homes and lodges in Namche Bazar compost human waste, homeowner Kumar Baraily built a CP style toilet in 1993. The toilet pit is two meters deep and one meter in diameter. The walls and floor of the pit are made with rock and sealed with mud. A 14 cm diameter pipe runs three meters from the pit parallel to the slope and 10 cm underground. The pipe is plugged at the end away from the pit. Baraily plans to unscrew the plug when the pit is full in five to six years. The pit will be drained into a hole and the contents buried. Baraily states that there were no regulations in Namche Bazar on how or where to build his toilet (Baraily 1995).

Several houses in Namche Bazar have indoor composting toilets, but the majority are located outside and adjacent to fields (Gyaljen Sherpa 1995). The living space in Sherpa homes is on the second floor. The first or ground floor is used for the storage of hay, fuelwood and/or livestock. The toilet is located above the livestock area and the waste is deposited through a hole in the floor. The Trekkers' Inn was the last lodge in Namche to provide an indoor composting toilet for its clients. An outdoor composting toilet was built in the Spring of 1995 because of complaints from tourists of smells inside the lodge (Ang Nima Sherpa 1995).

Namche Bazar has no less then eight camping areas, mostly of which are in the front terraced areas of the lodges. The camps can accommodate up to 10 tents and several camp areas up to 20 tents. Trekking groups either use nearby lodge facilities or set up a toilet tent. Flush Toilets and Septic Tanks Currently in SNP, two lodges in Namche Bazar, the Hotel Everest View and the doctor's residence in Khunde have flush toilets and septic tanks.

In Lukla, almost all of the lodges have running water piped inside and several now have flush toilets and septic tanks (Ngima Sherpa 1995).

The Hotel Everest View (HEV), a one hour walk north of Namche Bazar, was first opened in 1973. The hotel now offers 12 rooms with double beds, each with its own flush toilet. Each room costs $375 (US) per night. The hotel is host to approximately 2000 tourists per year and has a staff of 30 who use outdoor pit toilets. Outside and near the main entrance, the hotel maintains a two stall OP style public toilet. The toilet was built in 1992 because of the high number of visitors who come for the views or for dinner. The 12 toilets use four cement septic tanks, two to the north and two to the south which are buried underground. According to HEV Operation Manager Hom Bahadur Jirel, the tanks are checked regularly and have been emptied on average every three years. As of the last servicing, approximately twenty, 15 to 18 kg loads were emptied from the tanks and taken to nearby potato fields in Khumjung. Jirel states, "we give it away free and the villagers are happy to accept it" (Jirel 1995).

The Khunde hospital was built in 1965 with financial and technical assistance from the Himalayan Trust. In 1978, a flush toilet and septic tank were installed at the doctors residence next to the hospital. The tank was emptied for the first time in April 1995 and buried in a nearby hole (Zimmerman 1995).

The Co-operative Sherpa Trekkers Lodge and Cafe Danphe in Namche Bazar has four rooms with flush toilets. The toilets empty into one cement septic tank measuring 3 m x 2 m x 1 m which is buried 30 cm underground. The toilet system is six to seven years old and has no outlet for liquids (Pemba Sherpa 1995). A bucket of water is required for each flush. All water must be carried by lodge staff from the Namche Bazar spring located 50 meters south. The toilets do not operate when temperatures are below freezing. Each room has two beds which cost NRs 150/- ($3 US) per night. Sherpa also maintains a composting toilet for campers and guests in other rooms.

Camp De Base and Thaktok Restaurant in Namche Bazar has three, double-bed rooms with flush toilets. Owner Dorjee Sherpa states that the septic tanks are "two big holes, two meters deep with rock walls, similar in design to septic tanks in Lukla" (Dorjee Sherpa 1995). Toilet paper is no problem in the system and although the holes have not been checked, the owner believes that they are not yet filled. Sherpa admits that the system was very expensive to install so now must charge NRs 500/- ($10 US) a night. In the peak season, the rooms are filled every night. Water reaches the toilets from a central reserve within the lodge which must be filled with water from the Namche Bazar spring located 150 meters downhill. Sherpa built the system in 1989 because he believed the Austrian government was planning a development project which would provide each house with running water and a central sewage treatment plant. Sherpa volunteered to conduct a village survey and found that most of the residents of Namche wanted flush toilets and the sewage system. When the project failed, Sherpa completed the toilet system, but because of the trouble and expense, he states that he wouldn't build another system. The two septic holes are located on a terrace, one meter behind a house. The residents of the house have not noted any leakage.

The owner of the Kala Patar Lodge in Namche plans to install flush toilets in his new lodge (Ang Norbu Sherpa 1995). The septic tank will be made of cement and able to accommodate 20 to 25 years worth of waste before emptying is required. A door on top of the tank will allow for monitoring. Not all of the new lodges being built in Namche are installing flush toilets and septic tanks. Ang Nuru Sherpas' lodge will be finished in September 1995 and will have 38 beds. He states, "I need the fertilizer from the toilets for my fields" (Ang Nuru Sherpa 1995).

Trekking Groups and Toilet Tents

The SPCC policy regarding trekking groups is that "toilet tents should be 50 meters from a water supply. Holes should be 50 cm deep and soil and turf replaced when leaving (SPCC pamphlet 1994). Two types of trekking groups visit the Park. Teahouse groups stay at lodges and use lodge facilities. Tenting groups stay in tents in front of lodges or in camping areas and set up toilet tents for the clients. These tents are approximately 1 m x 1 m x 2 m with a zipper door and are held up by aluminum poles. According to Urgen Sherpa, trekking guide and owner of Sherpa High Ambitions Trekking and Expeditions Pvt. Ldt. in Kathmandu, "toilet tents are for the trekkers only. The porters are not allowed to use them. We do this as a service for our clients, besides, the porters wouldn't want to use the tents anyway. They would rather use nearby bushes. All of the trekking agencies employ this same philosophy" (Urgen Sherpa 1995). Over 200 trekking agencies in Kathmandu compete for business and some may act inappropriately to save money. Lauren Lockwood was a member of a trek in April 1995 which had three clients and employed eight porters, cooks and guides. Lockwood states that "sometimes our toilet tents were put up less then 20 feet from rivers and once our campsite was not at a flat spot so no toilet tents were set up and we were told to just go in the woods" (Lockwood 1995). In Tengpoche, there are hundreds of half-filled depressions around the camping area. Park policy states that all trekking groups and their porters should use the public toilets and not dig more holes (McGuinness 1993). During a two day visit to Tengpoche, the author noted toilet tents being set up and used. Porters

It is estimated that on average, two porters accompany every trekker into SNP (Dorjee Lama 1995). By this estimate, nearly 25,000 additional people enter SNP then is reported by the MTCA. One trekking group that entered the Park in April 1995 had 23 Nepalese personnel working for only four trekkers. The trek was advertized as a 16 day "Everest Base Camp Trek" from World Expeditions in Australia. The trekking group personnel included a team leader, three guides, one cook, three kitchen staff and 15 porters. In Namche, the team exchanged porters for five Yak. When the team reached their destination of Everest base camp, there were three trekkers (one left due to illness), 11 Nepalese staff and five Yak (Garrett 1995). SPCC claims that they will record porter numbers entering the Park starting in 1996 (Dorjee Lama 1995).

In addition to the porters, cooks and guides who accompany trekkers in the Park, countless Nepalese are involved in moving food goods into the region from Lukla, Jiri and Dhankuta. Villages along these routes feel the impact of tourism even though they do not lie along the popular Everest trekking route. The trail from Dhankuta to Namche, via Tumlingtar, Salpa, Bung and Karikhola serves as a major supply/trade route to Namche Bazar. As many as 100 porters per day for 200 days a year travel this route and in the villages and trails along the route, latrines remain an oddity (Odell 1995 a). Waste Management at Base Camps Currently in the Park, there are many base camps which serve as home bases for groups of mountaineers. The base camps can either serve trekking peaks or expedition peaks and can be used by one party for one night or by many parties for many months. Some base camps are rarely used such as at Cho Oyu, while others such as at Everest base camp, can support hundreds of people at a time. In 1993, before the increased Mt. Everest $50,000 (US) peak fee and limit of one party per route, there were 19 expeditions climbing Everest "with several hundred climbers and sherpas milling around base camp" (Ali 1994).

According to the MTCA, there are no clear-cut regulations for toilets at base camps (Fingh 1995). SNP Warden Pandey states "my boys visit the base camps every week, where as SPCC, maybe once a month or at the end of the season (Pandey 1995).

Robert McConnell was leader of the 1990 and 1992 Everest Environmental Expeditions on the north side of Mt. Everest in Tibet's Upper Rongbuk Valley. During the expeditions he discovered that human waste decomposed very slowly and noted at the base camp that a three foot deep pit at a height of 5,200 meters had been filled with human waste and toilet paper in 1987 and had not decomposed by 1990. He also found that "no matter where you dig you find either a pile of buried trash or a previously used toilet space" (Naumann 1993). There have been more then a dozen national and international cleaning teams on Mt. Everest, but none have come up with a sustainable waste management policy.

To address the problems of human waste at base camps, on April 16, 1995, the SPCC 11 member executive committee agreed to implement a bucket system for the removal of human waste at all expedition base camps in SNP (Dorjee Lama 1995). The expeditions will be required to provide buckets in which the human waste will be collected. The waste will then be brought off the glacier and down valley and deposited into pre-dug holes in fields or forests. SPCC will present a report explaining the details of the policy to the MTCA and expects this to become regulation in the autumn of 1995. SPCC Project Officer Dorjee Lama states that farmers are welcome to the waste at no charge and that SPCC staff will check the base camps regularly to enforce the new regulation.According to author Stan Armington, the idea of a bucket regulation "sounds crazy. Why bring waste from an area where there are no people to a place where there are? The energy and money for this project could be spent on better things like making sure money gets from the government to the Park or reducing air pollution in Kathmandu" (Armington 1995).

American Sagarmatha Expedition Leader Bob Hoffman believes the new bucket regulation will be too much work for porters and monitoring compliance of the policy will be next to impossible. He suggests a depository area just off the glacier where waste could be brought and buried (Hoffman 1995). Mt. Everest climber, PV Scaturro states, "we don't even have that kind of policy at mountains in the States. Nepal is charging First World dollars to climb this mountain and expects us to pack our toilet waste out? It sounds ridiculous. With the amount of money we're paying, the government should be able to helicopter the stuff out" (Scaturro 1995). A common complaint of expedition team members is the fact that porters and dayhikers at base camp don't use the toilets that are provided. Overnight campers, visitors and porters at the base camps use local rocks creating hundreds of toilet spots. Hoffman states that "it's getting hard to find clean drinking water at the base camp. Half of my team has diarrhea. The liaison officers should take a proactive role regarding waste management, telling teams where to set up toilets and monitoring porters and visitors" (Hoffman 1995). The number of trekkers who visit Everest base camp for the day or to spend many days is estimated at five times the number of expedition members and porters (Scaturro 1995). Presently, a Liaison Officer (LO) is required to accompany all expeditions to ensure compliance of MTCA regulations. The LO will also be in a position to oversee compliance of the new bucket regulation. Unfortunately, according to former SNP Warden Lhukpa Sherpa, the LO "is clearly not effective. Most LOs are poorly trained and unused to living at extreme elevations. In the Khumbu, it is not unusual to find LOs holed up in Namche Bazar while the climbers go about their business" (Lhukpa Sherpa 1992).

The new bucket policy does not consider animal feces such as Yak who accompany people and transport goods to base camp. During peak climbing seasons, there can be hundreds of animals moving in and out of base camp (Stick 1995). The trail to Everest base camp is known as the Yak Trail because of the amount of excrement on the glacier (McGuinness 1995). American Sagarmatha Expedition Base Camp Manager Tom Stick suggests the creation of a Yak trail on the side of the glacier. Although the trail would be longer, animal excrement would not be deposited directly on the glacier (Stick 1995).

Solar Toilet Projects

Presently in SNP, two different organizations are researching the treatment of human waste using passive solar energy. These two organizations are the Everest Environmental Project (EEP) from Colorado Springs, CO, USA and a subsidiary of the Himalayan Trust run by Sir Edmund Hillary's son, Peter from Australia. Both projects are working towards the same goal of reducing waste, yet neither knew of the others existence. The two toilet designs, although different, operate on the same principle. The sun's energy enters the chamber where the waste is stored. A barrier allows the suns heat to enter but not escape, similar in operation to a greenhouse. The waste is dehydrated, its volume reduced and without water the waste becomes a sterile powder.

The EEP toilet is an insulated wooden box measuring one meter high by one meter across with a sheet of clear plexiglass at an angle of 45 degrees. The toilet is positioned south to collect solar radiation. A toilet seat is situated on top of the box and the waste is deposited through a 140 cm x 20 cm hole. The hole is sealed when the toilet is not in use to prevent heat loss. Inside the toilet, the waste is suspended above the floor on a screen. A 4 cm deep collection pan sits beneath the screen and can be emptied via a small door at the rear of the toilet. The inside of the toilet is lined with aluminum siding which is sealed to prevent leakage. The entire toilet is painted black to increase heat absorption. The more airtight the toilet is, the hotter it will get and the more efficiently it will operate (Solar Toilet Construction Manual n.d.).

The EEP solar toilet is the idea of Robert McConnell, co-founder and director of EEP, co-chair of the American Alpine Club Conservation Committee and the American Delegate to the International Commission for Mountain Preservation. McConnell developed the toilet together with Michael Reynolds, an architect from Taos, New Mexico. In September 1993, McConnell and Reynolds installed a solar toilet at the Himalayan Mountain Institute's (HMI) 14,600 ft. training camp north of Darjeeling, India. HMI is host to 1,400 students per year and each student spends an average of ten days at the camp. McConnell estimates that "at a pound of poop per day per student, the HMI has to deal with approximately seven tons of waste a year" (Himal Jan/Feb 1994). The toilet was completed in less than a week from materials bought locally for under $100 (US). Performance of this toilet is unknown to the author. A demonstration solar toilet model has been built and is currently at the KEEP office in Kathmandu for tourists to observe. Unfortunately, the toilet is covered with plastic and stored behind the office and out of sight.

Materials for the solar toilet were brought to the Khumbu by members of EEP in 1994. Henry Todd of Edinburgh, U.K. and leader of the 1994 Everest British Expedition, constructed the frame and installed the insulation, siding and screen in the toilet. In April 1995, the author, with the help of Ang Nima Sherpa, Information Officer from SPCC in Namche and local carpenter Babu Sherpa completed construction of the solar toilet. A hinged door was installed at the rear of the toilet and a lid, made of wood with a handle, was constructed. A 3 mm plexiglass sheet was faceted on the front using wood screws. Adhesive weather stripping was used on the lid, door and plexiglass to ensure an airtight seal. A collection pan was made from available aluminum siding. Obvious air holes were sealed with Foamplus brand expanding foam sealant. All of the surfaces were painted black using Umbrella brand, high gloss synthetic enamel paint. A Cooper-brand oven thermometer, brought from the U.S. by the author, was installed inside the toilet to record temperatures. The toilet was positioned in front of the Trekkers' Inn in Namche Bazar and temperatures were recorded by the author for four days and by SPCC staff for eleven days. Weather patterns in the region for the Spring season vary but typically, mornings are warm and sunny followed by clouds moving into the region between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The toilet was positioned 10 degrees east of due south to take advantage of the morning sun. A peak temperature of 70o C was recorded by the author on April 18, 1995. Temperature readings for this day were similar to other readings on other days (see appendix F). Clouds blocked the suns rays starting at 11 a.m. and within one hour, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., the temperature dropped 20o C. This drop in temperature was observed every time clouds obscured sunlight. It appears by this sudden drop in temperature that the toilet is very sensitive to sunlight. Potential problems of the EEP solar toilet include the accumulation of dust on the plexiglass which could impede solar absorption. Also, according to Henry Todd, the toilet can only accommodate seven to ten uses per day. Therefore, daily supervision of the toilet would be necessary in a public use situation. Yogendra Kayastha, Managing Director of KEEP points out that "the unit is heavy, so once it is built, it has to stay put" (Kayastha 1995). In regards to high altitude situations, Col. Ajit K. Dutt, principal of HMI states that "its success at heights, say 15,000 ft. and beyond is not very encouraging, particularly in the eastern Himalaya where availability of the sun is low" (Ali 1994). The toilet, which on the outside is made of wood, could be vulnerable in the harsh Khumbu weather. The Himalayan Trust toilet in comparison can hold a much larger volume of waste. Designed by Peter Hillary, the first toilet was built in 1994 behind the Khunde hospital. Dubbed "prototype 1", this toilet was used by hospital staff and patients for several months to assess its effectiveness. The toilet is no longer in use. A stone outhouse structure is situated above a 12 ft long rock floor that slopes at a 30 degree angle. Rock walls have been built on either side of the floor. Both the walls and floor are sealed with cement to ensure containment. At the bottom of the slope is a hinged door and rock drainage area for liquids. Over the rock floor and walls is a frame covered with plastic which has now since been destroyed by the elements. When not in use, a flat board covers the toilet hole.

Currently, a new solar toilet is under construction in Thame for local school children. The toilet is similar in design to the prototype 1 and is built on a south facing slope. The walls of the toilet are flared to the east to take advantage of the morning sun. The waste catchment area is covered with transparent Lazerlight brand PVC sheeting. According to Mike Grimmer, Head of Construction, the toilet should be in use in May 1995. The same organization is tentatively planning the installation of a solar toilet in Tengpoche for 1996. The toilet would have four stalls which would have 16 times as much heat absorption as the prototype 1 (Grimmer 1995). Grimmer and Hillary were looking for locations with southern exposures in Tengpoche in April 1995. If installed, the toilet would be locked and a deposit system would be implemented. Trekking groups would be required to leave a deposit and charged for toilet use. The toilet would be cleaned by local residents who would receive the money. Porters would not be charged for use. One disadvantage of both solar toilets is the fact that the waste becomes sterile in an area where composted human waste is a resource. According to Sir Edmund Hillary, the solar toilet has potential but "it destroys all the matter and then can't be used as a fertilizer" (Hillary 1995).

Mingma Norbu Sherpa, Project Officer of SPCC in Kathmandu is optimistic and states that "if it works, then it will be good at high elevation areas" (Mingma Norbu Sherpa 1995). Present SNP Warden Megh B. Pandey suggests placing a solar toilet at the visitor center because it would be a good demonstration spot (Pandey 1995). Passive solar heating can be used at high altitude locations and has been shown to work in ares such as the sun rooms at three Gokyo lodges (el. 4750 m). The author noted that while the temperature outside hovered around freezing, temperatures within the sun room climbed to 30o C.


Lodges - Baseline sanitary regulations be set for lodges throughout the Park and that these regulations include guidelines stating "no visible leakage" or "no potential to leak during heavy rain periods." - Lodge toilets throughout the Park be monitored by SPCC for compliance of these regulations. - Lodges without toilets construct toilet facilities. - The Hotel Everest View be monitored to ensure proper disposal of waste from septic tanks. Public Toilets - That one organization build, maintain, monitor and enforce compliance of certain baseline standards for all public toilets in the Park. This organization should be the SPCC. - That all public toilets be cleaned regularly and by staff who are well paid. There should be daily cleaning at popular toilets and weekly cleaning at less popular toilets. - That all public toilets have a clearly placed sign indicating that the structure is a public toilet, who has built it and who maintains it. - That as carbon source such as leaves, pine needles or dirt be mixed into all public toilets periodically to eliminate odor and the presence of flies. - That the public toilet at the Namche Bazar market area be closed and replaced with a low flush toilet with a cement septic tank. The tank should be buried nearby but accessible to check quantity and to unload. Comparative studies of septic tank systems in similar areas such as Langtang National Park can be investigated to choose a proper system. - A public toilet be constructed in Gorak Shep because of the high day hiker traffic from Loboche to Kala Patar and Everest base camp. Tourism - The number of porters, guides, cooks and all who enter the Park in Jorsale be recorded by Park personnel. - Water be tested throughout the Park on a regular basis, especially at high use areas such as Namche Bazar for the presence of e-coli bacteria. Trekking Groups - Designated camp sites be used by trekking groups and all trekking groups be monitored at these sites. Education - Education programs be set up or expanded for locals and trekking group personnel specifically about toilet placement, construction and maintenance. Base Camps - At the busier base camps, a full time local personnel be employed and in charge of the entire camp. - The new bucket system policy at base camps haul the waste to a nearby depository and then be buried in the ground off the glacier instead of down valley. - A Yak trail be established on the glacial moraine and not on the glacier itself on-route to all base camps. Alternative Waste Disposal - Further research on the EEP solar toilet be done in high altitude areas in the USA such as Mt. Rainer, WA which are easy to access, monitor and maintain by EEP personnel. - That the Himalayan Trust solar toilet in Khunde and Thame be monitored and evaluated as a possible waste treatment system in other areas of the Khumbu. - Alternative waste disposal systems be investigated, such as small scale methane generation, in lodges and small villages as a way to treat human waste and reduce fuelwood consumption. Future studies could compare BTU generation of methane production to current fuelwood or kerosene consumption.


According to many locals and visitors to SNP, the disposal of human waste is one of the most serious issues facing the Park. In some areas, toilet development has not kept up with the over 10,000 tourists and countless Nepalese who enter the Park every year. Currently, SPCC and SNP personnel are involved with public waste management within the Park. Regulations for trekking groups and expeditions regarding human waste is minimal and to a large extent not enforced. Monitoring efforts of lodge toilets does not exist. There are no baseline sanitation standards for any of the toilets in the Park. Latrine construction and education programs for lodge owners do not take place. Workshops for lodge owners, porters and guides place little or no emphasis on proper waste management. Some trekking groups set up toilet tents near water sources and employees of the trek do not use the tents.

For most lodge owners, waste is either a resource or a nuisance. Unfortunately, in many areas, sanitation is an evil only if it threatens the tourist industry. Although many lodge owners realize that sanitary facilities can increase incomes, some lodges are located at high tourist volume areas and tourists stay at the lodges regardless of the facilities. Many lodge toilets have urine and fecal matter visibly leaking from the toilets. Several of these toilets are located less then five meters from potable water supplies. Many of the toilets store waste at ground level and are therefore prone to leakage during the heavy rain periods. Many lodge and public toilets are built on hills and the downhill side of the toilet is open. The heavy rain period between July and September can potentially wash out the contents of these toilets. The majority of lodges in the lower elevations of the Park compost toilet wastes into agricultural fields. This waste management system, when use is low and maintenance regular, is effective at eliminating smells and flies and is a proven waste management technique. Composting toilets appear to be abundant where 1) fields are nearby, 2) a carbon source is readily available, 3) laborers are available to empty the toilets and 4) a member of the family or community is involved in agriculture. The survey revealed that 44% of the lodge toilets add a carbon source to the waste to reduce odors and flies. The waste can then be mixed into fields.

The majority of public toilets in the Park are not maintained on a regular basis. The public toilets in Jorsale, Thape Danda, Namche Bazar and Tengpoche are in a state of disrepair and are unusable. The high tourist volume problems in Tengpoche are now being addressed with a three year development plan which includes major improvements of toilet facilities. In Namche Bazar, the public toilet at the market and several lodge toilets are leaking and no development projects are planned. Cold temperatures at high elevation lodges and base camps slows waste decomposition. Toilets are difficult to construct and maintain at these locations. A new bucket policy at all expedition base camps will require groups to pack out human waste in buckets which will then be buried in fields down valley. Compliance and monitoring of this new regulation may present problems for Park personnel. Although not a proven technology in the Khumbu, passive solar energy at high elevations can assist with the decomposition of waste. The Everest Environmental Project solar toilet does not appear to be applicable in the Khumbu for several reasons. First, because of the lack of high temperatures reached within the toilet, secondly, the low volume capacity within the toilet and lastly, the high supervision and maintenance needed. The Himalayan Trust toilet has already been tested and is installed at two locations in the Park and, because of its size, can potentially treat waste on a large scale.

Clearly, budgets, staff and technical assistance for toilet projects and maintenance are lacking and will have to take precedence in the future. Education detailing proper waste management techniques for trekking group personnel and local lodge owners must be a priority of the SPCC. New waste disposal projects such as small scale methane generation for individual lodges or small villages may be applicable in the Khumbu and could reduce fuelwood consumption. Encouragingly, the Sherpa people seem very receptive to new ideas and are adaptable when dealing with sudden changes in the region. Visitors and locals in SNP will only act responsibly and cooperate with Park rules when proper facilities are provided to them. ABBREVIATIONS ACAP - Annapurna Conservation Area Project DNPWC - Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation EEP - Everest Environmental Project HEV - Hotel Everest View HGRT - Himalayan Guides for Responsible Tourism HMI - Himalayan Mountaineering Institute KEEP - Kathmandu Environmental Education Project LNP - Langtang National Park MBNPCA - Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area MTCA - Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation NMA - Nepal Mountaineering Association SNP - Sagarmatha National Park SPCC - Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee TURGAN - Tourist Guide Association Of Nepal WWF - World Wildlife Fund Toilet Terms OE - Open Elevated CE - Closed Elevated OP - Open Pit CP - Closed Pit OC - Open Composting CC - Closed Composting


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Stan Armington Author, Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya Managing Director, Malla Treks P.O. Box 5227 Lekhnath Marg Kathmandu Nepal Kanak Mani Dixit Editor, Himal magazine P.O. Box 42 Lilitpur, Nepal Mike Grimmer Head of Construction, Thame Solar Toilet Project P.O. Box 152 Mt. Beauty Victoria 3699 Australia Peter Hillary Designer of Thame Solar Toilet C1 - World Expeditions 1st Floor 372 Lt. Bourke St. Melbourne 3000 Australia A. Bern Hoff Hikers Against Doo-Doo, Int. Box 271 Hampden, ME 04444 Indul K.C. Mountaineering Division, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation Tripureshwor, Singh Durbar Kathmandu, Nepal Yogendra Kayastha Managing Director, Kathmandu Environmental Education Project P.O. Box 9178 Tridevi Marg Kathmandu, Nepal Wendy Brewer Lama EcoTrek and Himalayan Guides for Responsible Tourism P.O. Box 1913 Kathmandu, Nepal Dhiraj Karki Civil Engineer, National Productivity and Economic Development Center P.O. Box 1318 Kathmandu, Nepal Robert McConnell Director, Everest Environmental Project 3730 Wind Dance Rd. Colorado Springs, CO 80906 USA Jamie McGuinness Author, Trekking in the Everest Region Trailblazer Publications The Old Manse, Tower Rd. Hindhead, Surrey GU26 65U UK Nona Morris Todd Nachowitz Academic Directors, School for International Training P.O. Box 1373 Kathmandu, Nepal Dr. Malcolm J. Odell Co-manager, Makalu-Barun National Park and Conservation Area The Mountain Institute P.O. Box 2785 Nagpokhari, Naxal Kathmandu, Nepal Megh B. Pandey Sagarmatha National Park Warden Sagarmatha National Park Namche Bazar, Nepal Rick Paradis Manager, University of Vermont Natural Areas University of Vermont, Environmental Program 153 S. Prospect St. Burlington, Vermont 05401 USA Michael Schmitz Project Coordinator, Thyanboche Development Project P.O. Box 1457 Kathmandu, Nepal Doug Scott Himalayan Climber Chapel House Low Cotehill, Near Carlisle Cumbria, UK CA4 OEL Vinaya Shakya Administrative Officer, Nepal Mountaineering Association P.O. 1435 Nagpokhari, Naxal Kathmandu, Nepal Keder Shearma Nepal Environmental Federation Of Journalists G.P.O. Box 5143 Thapathali, Kathmandu, Nepal Lhukpa Norbu Sherpa Protected Areas Management Officer Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation P.O. Box 860 Babar Mahal Kathmandu, Nepal Mingma Norbu Sherpa Project Officer, SPCC World Wildlife Programme - Nepal P.O. Box 7660 Kathmandu, Nepal James Thorsell International Union for the Conservation of Nature Geneva, Switzerland Tribuvan University Central Library Kirtipur, Kathmandu