The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to probe the complaint of a retired army man, who claimed the terrace of his house in south Delhi’s Vasant Enclave is being repeatedly spattered with human excreta falling from aeroplanes.
Lieutenant general (retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya sought criminal proceedings against commercial airlines. Terming the act as violation of the Centre’s flagship Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, he pleaded for hefty fines on airlines for endangering the health of residents.
“For over a week now, we have 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. This is the second time this has happened. The last time it happened early in October and we had to spend R50,000 to get the entire exterior repainted,” Dahiya stated in his plea.
Noting the submissions of the petitioner, the green panel directed the CPCB to depute a senior environmental engineer to inspect his house and check the existence of human excreta on the walls. It directed the CPCB that if excreta were found, samples should be collected for analysis and the report be placed before the tribunal.
The bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued notices to the ministries of environment and forests and civil aviation and CPCB, seeking their replies within two weeks.
Dahiya also sought creation of a 24-hour helpline for immediate reporting of such incidents and a monitoring mechanism to check that no aircraft drops ‘human soil or excreta’ while landing.
“Diwali is only few days away and we just completed fresh painting of the exterior of our house. But again our walls are completely spattered with waste. We are retired people and cannot afford to have this defacement every day,” Dahiya added.
Plane toilets store human waste in special tanks. These are normally disposed of by ground crew once the plane lands, but aviation officials acknowledge that lavatory leaks can occur in the air at times. There have been instances when people have been injured.