• Everest Base Camp
    Everest Base Camp

The once-pristine mountain environment of Mount Everest is now littered with everything from oxygen cannisters to the bodies of climbers. And microplastics.

The ABC reports that scientists studying plastic pollution on Mount Everest have discovered microplastics as high as 8,440m up the mountain, just 400m below the peak.

This is the first time researchers have looked at microplastics on the mountain, and they were surprised to find them at such high altitudes.

Snow and water samples were taken at 19 intervals on Mount Everest, beginning at 4,200 metres above sea level all the way up to the balcony — a rest point for climbers at 8,440m before they push for the summit.

The microplastics, which included polyester, acrylic, nylon and polypropylene, were present in all snow samples, at an average of 30 particles per litre sampled, and in just under half of the water samples.

The concentration of microplastics on Mount Everest was positively correlated with the frequency of people visiting those areas or as boffins call it, 'tourism pollution'.

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