Tourists have been barred from Mount Everest’s base camp in Tibet because of the amount of rubbish being dumped.

The move by China, which will not affect climbers with permits, comes in the face of rising visitor numbers.

Latest figures show that more than 40,000 people travelled to the site in 2015.

Garbage collectors collect rubbish at the deserted Everest base camp
Image:The camp will still be open to mountaineers, although permits will be limited to 300 each year

Unlike the Nepalese camp, which can only be reached on foot after a trek of nearly two weeks, the Chinese base at 5,200m (17,060ft) is popular as it can be accessed by car.

Tang Wu of the tourism commission told Chinese media: “The key area (of the reserve) will be closed for tourism for an indefinite period, mainly for ecological conservation.”

The ban means tourists are only allowed to go as far as a monastery a short distance below the camp.

Refuse being left has been a growing problem on the world’s highest peak, with the temperature and high altitude hampering clean-up efforts.

According to the Tibetan authorities, workers had collected more than 300 tons of rubbish from the mountain last year.

The camp will still be open to mountaineers scaling the 8,848m (29,029ft) peak, although the authorities recently announced the number of permits would be limited to 300 each year.