India is to begin fining airlines that empty their plane’s toilet tanks in mid-air, after reports of human waste being dropped on people’s homes.
On Tuesday, the Asian country’s National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the country’s aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to issue instructions to all airlines, whose planes are involved, to pay Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation.
The NGT bench chaired by Swatanter Kumar passed a slew of directions to be followed by airlines while hearing a plea of a retired army officer, who claimed the terrace of his house in south Delhi’s Vasant Enclave is being repeatedly spattered with excreta falling from aeroplanes.
Although it could not be properly proved that the poo came from planes, the environmental court said that planes in India could be searched upon landing.
The direction came on the plea of Lt Gen (Rtd) Satwant Singh Dahiya who had sought action against airlines and levy of hefty fines on them for endangering the health of residents, terming their act as violation of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (Clean India Mission).
“For over a week now, we found that walls and floors of our terrace are splattered with large patches of excreta dumped by aircraft flying in front of Palam airport at night. The last time it happened early in October, we had to spend Rs 50,000 to get the exterior painted,” Dahiya had stated in his plea.
The Ministry had opposed the argument and said plane toilets stored the waste in special tanks which are normally disposed of by ground crews once the plane lands. However, aviation officials acknowledge that lavatory leaks can occur in the air at times.
The green panel added that the amount collected as fine from airlines shall be used for environment protection and a quarterly report shall also be submitted by DGCA before it.