NEW DELHI: Taking a serious view of aircraft dumping human waste and emptying toilet tanks before landing, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered that any air carrier involved in such an act would have to pay Rs 50,000 as penalty.
A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar ordered the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to issue a circular to all airlines flying in Indian airspace, specifying that those involved in such acts would have to pay Rs 50,000 penalty. The tribunal asked the DGCA to issue the circular to all ground-handling services and airlines to ensure that they do not release human waste from tanks while landing or anywhere near the terminals of the IGI Airport in New Delhi.
The NGT passed the directions while disposing of a plea by Lieutenant General (retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya, who alleged dumping of human excreta by aircraft over residential areas near the IGI Airport and
sought action against the erring airlines and levy of hefty fines on them. Dahiya had termed such acts as violation of 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'.
Normally, waste in aircraft tanks is disposed of by ground-handling personnel once the plane lands. However, there have been cases where lavatory leaks occur in the air.
The NGT Bench further said, “The DGCA shall also issue directions that aircraft on landing shall be subjected to surprise inspections to see that human waste tanks are not empty. If any aircraft is found to be violating such a circular or (their) tanks are found empty on landing, they shall be subjected to environment compensation of Rs 50,000 per default."
While issuing the directions, the green panel also said it was "surprised" to note the stand taken by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that on analysing the samples obtained from the petitioner's house, it could be ascertained that it was humN excreta though its source was not known. "We are surprised to note the stand of the CPCB as the extent of coliform and the kind of splashes created on the houses of the petitioner as well as others clearly demonstrate that it was human excreta," said the Bench.
It added that the amount collected by way of such penalty shall be deposited with the CPCB for use as environment protection and a quarterly report shall be submitted by the DGCA before it.