Environmental Health Issues in High Altitude Areas of Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park and Buffer Zone (SNPBZ)
Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, Nepal Himalayas, central part of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) has been experiencing neo-environmental health problems in spite of being dubbed as "virgin land and virgin Himalayas with high altitude fresh people". So far, the common myth in the high altitude places has been only High Altitude Sickness (HAS), however other anthropogenically induced diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, Acute Respiratory Problem (ARP), unusual fever and parasitic worm
... rasitic worm infection have been commonly observed. Altogether 4 health stations with an average 7hrs trekking apart are not sufficient to cater to more than 20,000 tourists per year with their guides: porters and almost 6000 resident population. Four health centers (Lukla 2850m, Namche 3450m, Khunde 3800m, and Pheriche 4300m) are the main health care units in this region. Poor accessibility and limited resources have caused further constrains to meet the demands of the visitors and locals. The current researches and observations indicate that the waterborne diseases and diseases related to food are the new emerging health issues in the area. The trend is higher in lower altitude area than in the higher altitudes. Poor sanitation, huge amount of manure and its uses, traditional open toilets and open defecation, unhygienic pigsties and cattle sheds, poor drainage system in the major settlements are the major contributing factors. The recent studies have also indicated the acceleration of contamination of water and water bodies from different human induced sources. Awareness and education on health hygiene and sanitation, proper waste management, accessibility of potable water without further polluting the water sources in major trekking routes and settlements are necessary for maintaining good health as well as a sustainable social and economic development in SNPBZ.