India is to start fining airlines that empty their plane’s toilet tanks during flight, after reports of human waste being dropped on people’s homes.
The country’s National Green Tribunal, an environmental court, has introduced a 50,000 rupee charge on any airline that fails to store the waste onboard so it can be properly disposed of.
On-the-spot inspections will be introduced to check an aircraft’s human waste tanks are not empty upon landing.
Any airline whose planes are found to have empty tanks will have to pay the “environment compensation” fine, the Press Trust of India reported..
Aeroplane waste tanks are normally emptied by airport staff once the plane lands but there have been numerous incidents of leaks resulting in excrement being dropped on residential areas.
After a court hearing, India’s National Green Tribunal said: “Aircraft on landing shall be subjected to surprise inspections to see that human waste tanks are not empty.
“If any aircraft is found to be violating such circular or [their] tanks are found empty on landing, they shall be subjected to environment compensation of 50,000 rupees by default.
Action comes after Delhi man complains
The move came after a retired army officer, Lt Gen Satwant Singh Dahiya, took action against airlines he said were frequently dropping human waste on his house near Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.
He claimed the “walls and floors” of the terrace of his house were “splattered with large patches of excreta dumped by aircraft flying in front of the airport”.
However, India’s aviation ministry said while tests confirmed the substance was human waste, there was no evidence it had came from planes.
It is unclear where else the excrement on the roof of Mr Dahiya’s house may have come from, and the environmental court expressed “surprise” that India’s pollution monitor said the source of the waste could not be established.
Previous cases of Blue Ice
Earlier this year an Indian woman suffered a severe shoulder injury when she was hit by a large chunk of ice that fell from the sky.
Aviation experts believe it was likely to have been “blue ice” – the name given to frozen human waste that forms around the overflow outlets on aeroplane toilets. The term refers to the blue chemicals that are used in the toilets.
The problem of “blue ice” is not limited to India. Around 25 cases of human waste falling from planes in the UK are reported every year.
Last year two Wiltshire pensioners said a “yellow and brown” lump of ice had smashed through the roof of their house.
Keith and Ruth Mead fretted about what to write on the insurance claim form. The told the Daily Mail: “On our insurance forms do we put ‘house hit by frozen urine and poo’, will they believe us?“