While walking down by the river this past weekend, watching my dog wade through plastic bottles, tarps, scum, and so much miscellaneous trash floating downstream, the timeless lyrics of The Fugs - Wide, Wide RiverAKA “River of Shit,” were called up from the jukebox of my soul. It appears that Travis Bickle’s prophecy has been fulfilled as the recent rains have come and washed all the scum off the streets. Into the Rio Grande.
You’d think mountain climbers would diligently follow the old “leave no trace” rule. You know, the one that says pack out whatever it is you’ve packed in. Sadly, of the some 4,000 people who have climbed the world’s highest mountain, not all have been so environmentally conscious. This BBC video shows sherpas climbing to dangerous heights in order to remove trash (mostly abandoned oxygen tanks and ropes) left behind by tired climbers.
Perhaps this is why Mt. Kailash, in western Tibet, is off limits to climbers. After all, the Hindu god Shiva lives there and the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, is one of the few said to have ascended the mountain, though he did so to meditate, and not for sport.
The trash that’s being found on Everest used to be buried under the snow but warmer weather has lead to snow melt, exposing the abandoned sporting goods.