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Abandoned tents, human waste piling up on Mount Everest

This May 21, 2019, photo provided by climber Dawa Steven Sherpa shows Camp Four, the highest camp on Mount Everest littered with abandoned tents. (Dawa Steven Sherpa/Asian Trekking via AP)

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- The record number of climbers on Mount Everest this season has left a cleanup crew grappling with how to clear away everything from abandoned tents to human waste that threatens drinking water.

    The world's highest mountain has so much garbage climbers use it as signposts to help them navigate. But this year's haul from an estimated 700 climbers, guides and porters on the mountain has been a shock to the ethnic Sherpas who worked on the government's cleanup drive.

    Thirty entire tents were abandoned at Camp 4, the highest campsite before the summit. High winds have scattered their contents over already dangerous icy slopes. Human waste overflows and spills toward Base Camp where hundreds of people live during the season and use the melting snow for drinking water.

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