The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in India has warned the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) that if all airlines do not stop disposing their toilet waste midair by August 31, his own salary will be held back.
The tribunal has expressed displeasure at the DGCA’s failure to adhere to orders issued earlier demanding him to dispatch circulars to all airlines operating at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, India Today reported.
The circular was intended to warn all the functioning airlines, however, delay from the DG’s end offset the tribunal.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel took a strong objection to this neglect. The bench complained that despite the tribunal’s specific orders, DGCA did not present any valid explanation for the delay.
“Neither there is any valid explanation nor there is compliance by the DGCA. It is not disputed that the order is operative and has not been stayed in any proceedings,” news agency PTI said in a report.
The bench further stated that non-compliance by the DG left them with no other option but to approach him directly.
The DG was also warned that any “continued defiance” will result in a hearing on September 17.
During the hearing, the DGCA informed the bench that the order had not been complied till the mentioned date because a review petition against the tribunal’s order was pending adjudication.
He claimed that it was impossible to dump human waste midair from an aircraft toilet. The petition was taken to an expert committee constituted by the NGT and it confirmed that there is no switch or system available in the aircraft to dispose waste in flight.
“The aircraft system has three level of in-built external protection for disposing the waste and under no circumstance release of waste during flight is possible and there has been no such resort ever by the operators”, said the director.
“The modern day airline toilets are sealed and cannot be emptied in flight and toilet waste can only be disposed of by manual operation on ground during its servicing,” he added.
The NGT first took notice of this case after a Delhi resident, Lt General (retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya claimed that houses in his neighbourhood were damaged by human waste dumped by airlines from planes at night.
Taking notice, the tribunal directed DGCA to issue a circular to all airlines to pay Rs50,000 as environmental compensation if their planes are found dumping waste midair.
Before issuing the warning the tribunal constituted a research committee which collected samples of the waste found on rooftops and tested the excreta.
The research body found traces of faecal coliform in the samples, indicating presence of human waste.
This article originally appeared in India Today.