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Geomorphic Processes, Rock Quality and Solid Waste Management—Examples from the Mt. Everest Region of Nepal

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DOI: 10.4236/jwarp.2015.716105    3,015 Downloads   4,368 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Sagarmatha National Park and Buffer Zone (SNPBZ) in the Everest region in Nepal is among the most popular destinations for trekking tourism in Nepal. The dramatic growth of the tourism industry has increased pressures on the environment and the National Park is heavily affected by the rapidly growing waste issue. Besides, major mass movements play an important role in the Himalaya and have been observed in SNPBZ. Also, seasonal monsoon floods, debris flows, rock falls, landslides and the creation of glacial lake outburst floods are frequently occurring in the region. This paper explores the reciprocal interactions between the geo-environment and solid waste management in Everest’s SNPBZ. Therefore, geological characteristics and geomorphological processes, especially the two large rockslides in Lukla and Khumjung, as well as their consequences for rock quality, climatic and hydrologic conditions, are analyzed and simultaneously connected to the rapidly growing tourism-induced waste issue. Rockslide material shows high porosity and permeability. Thus, we argue that rockslide facies are particularly vulnerable to contamination by waste water and washed out agricultural fertilizers, which pose threats to the population especially in Namche Bazaar but probably also in Lukla. Also, the landfill sites are often affected by geomorphological processes and may consequently contaminate surface and ground water. Results highlight that regional infrastructure planning of landfill sites often collides with the natural features of the geo-environment and often causes harm to human health and the environment. The implications of the results can be applied to similar areas (such as Marsyandi Valley, Kali Gandaki Valley) with special geological characteristics and rapidly growing waste issues.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Posch, E. , Bell, R. , Weidinger, J. and Glade, T. (2015) Geomorphic Processes, Rock Quality and Solid Waste Management—Examples from the Mt. Everest Region of Nepal. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 7, 1921-1308. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2015.716105.

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