Do not drop toilet waste mid-air, aviation regulator DGCA warns airlines; fines to be levied

By: | Published: September 3, 2018 12:06 PM

Soon, airlines operating in India would have to pay a penalty of Rs 50,000 if they empty the toilet tank during flight take off or landing. The order has been issued on August 30, 2018, by the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA).

If the planes are found dumping waste mid-air, the operators would have to pay an amount of Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation.

Soon, airlines operating in India would have to pay a penalty of Rs 50,000 if they empty the toilet tank during flight take off or landing. The order has been issued on August 30, 2018, by the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA). According to an HT report, the order came after the aviation regulator was warned by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which said that it would stop funding the salaries of DGCA staff if it fails to issue a circular by August 31, 2018.

A DGCA official was quoted in the report saying that in compliance with NGT directions, all air operators of the country have been ordered not to release any waste during landing as well as take off or near airports. If the planes are found dumping waste mid-air, the operators would have to pay an amount of Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation. The official also added that they have been asked to submit monthly reports. However, according to the aviation regulator, since the matter was subjudice, the directions were only interim.

In the month of October in 2016, former Lt General Satwant Singh Dahiya, who resides near the IGI airport in Delhi, had moved to NGT alleging human excreta was being dumped on the terrace of his house and neighbourhood from aircraft while landing. In the same year, on December 5, a three-member committee was formed by the DGCA to investigate the matter. However, before the investigation was over, an order was issued by the NGT on December 20, 2016, asking the aviation regulator to issue a circular to airlines.

On the basis of physical inspection as well as examination of lavatory drainage systems of various types of aircraft, the committee concluded that there was no other practical way to dispose lavatory waste from flights. On the other hand, according to aircraft manufactures, it is impossible to empty a toilet tank mid air. The DGCA official further informed that a counter affidavit was filed by them but on August 1, the NGT issued another order asking the aviation regulator to instruct the airlines. The official also said that they cannot go against the court’s order.

A serving pilot was quoted in the report saying that in an aircraft, the bio vacuum toilet has three levels of protection and any leakage is very rare. The pilot further elaborated that, even after landing, if the tank is opened, the waste has to be sucked out.

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