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China Plans to Clean up Mt. Qomolangma Next Year

China plans to clean up Mt. Qomolangma in the first half of next year amid concerns about environment protection, an official said on Sunday.

Rubbish left by climbers and tourists on the world's highest peak, which straddles China and Nepal, will be cleared away, said Zhang Yongze, director of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Bureau of Environment Protection.

"We need to limit the number of people who want to climb Mt. Qomolangma, who exert a negative impact on the environment. We will also need to strengthen management of commercial activities involving it," he told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"We don't want so many visitors to 'disturb' the peak," he said.

In addition to human activities, global warming has led to the shrinking of the glacier, he said.

Zhang said his bureau will work with the Tibet Mountaineering School to fulfil the cleaning task.

The Olympic flame reached the top of the pyramid-shaped crown of the earth on May 8. "We have carried out strict control over the waste disposal in the torch rely and preparations," Zhang said.

"Every team, such as the climbers and journalists, was ordered to clear way their rubbish. We set up two environment-friendly toilets at the Base Camp," he said.

"We even cleaned up the roads from the regional capital Lhasa to the peak," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2008)

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