The city’s civic body has claimed that it is doing enough to ensure that waste material in the vicinity of the airport is cleared.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) filed an affidavit in this regard following court orders to survey the garbage disposal situation.
The division bench of justice AS Oka and justice AS Gadkari was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 2010 by Datta Mane, which sought steps to prevent bird hits and cancellation of licences to abattoirs in the area.
The law prohibits slaughtering and dumping or disposal of waste with 10-km of the aerodrome reference point, as these activities would attract birds and stray animals, thus posing a potential security threat to flights.
In a different petition filed in the court, citing similar problems, airport authorities have pointed out that there have already been eight confirmed and 10 suspected bird hits involving aircrafts till May this year.
In an affidavit filed in the Bombay high court last week, the city’s civic body has said that 12 garbage collection spots in the vicinity of the airport are cleared about two-three times a day.
The court had in September directed municipal officials to survey the spots around the airport and submit a report.
“The BMC dutifully submits that the court’s orders are duly complied with and (the BMC) has taken all measures necessary to prevent bird hits in the area,” stated the affidavit filed by deputy municipal commissioner Prakash Janardhan Patil.
Non-profit groups have been engaged to collect garbage and ensure cleanliness in the nearby slums, and slum dwellers are also being educated on these issues, the affidavit added.
When the matter came up last week, the petitioner’s counsel P Havnur sought time to file a rejoinder to the BMC reply after visiting locations mentioned in the affidavit. He has been given three weeks to do so.
A 2011 affidavit, filed by the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), stated that the aviation watchdog had not granted any permissions for meat shops of abattoirs near the airport.
“The issue of implementation of Rule 91 of the Indian Aircraft Rules, 1937, will have to be considered by the court,” the court said.
Rule 91 prohibits animal slaughter and disposal of rubbish in the airport vicinity, without a go-ahead from the DGCA. The matter will next be heard on December 2.