Indian airlines dropping human waste midair to pay environmental compensation: Court

Image: AP

A recent order by Indias green court says that a fine would be imposed on all airlines that are found emptying toilet tanks midair.

The move comes after the hearing of a petition filed by a retired army officer, who claimed that the walls and floors of his house in the capital city of Delhi had been repeatedly spattered with human waste dropping from airplanes.

Consequently, the National Green Tribunal has directed the countrys aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to impose a fine of Rs. 50,000 ($736) on carriers caught indulging in the practice.

DGCA shall also issue directions that aircraft on landing shall be subjected to surprise inspection to see that human waste tanks are not empty, the bench stated, according to a report in PTI.

Indias aviation ministry has, however, contested the Delhi petitioners claim and said that airlines store waste in special tanks that are usually cleared by the ground staff post landing.

Mashable spoke to aviation experts who explained that the practice of shedding waste midair, especially on long flights, isnt uncommon.

Flights know where to drop the waste. They typically look at virgin territories like forests and oceans. Because every kilo the aircraft sheds is less fuel burned, says a top aviation consultant.

But if they are doing it in populated urban areas, then there is a problem, he adds. We’ll have to wait for some more information on what exactly happened.

Indias Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) sent a senior environmental engineer to inspect the petitioners house. After analyzing the samples collected, the CPCB reported that it was indeed excreta, but its source is not known.

No Indian airline has commented on the issue as of this writing.

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