In October, it almost became a weekly affair when patches of excreta were found splattered on the walls and floors of the terrace at Lt Gen (Retd) Satwant Singh Dahiya’s house in Delhi. That’s when he decided to take the matter to the court.
But little did the former Army man know that instead of taking action against the airlines, the government would hire lawyers to defend the case against him.
Resident of Vasant Enclave near the Palam airport, Dahiya filed a plea seeking action against airlines and levy of hefty fines on them for endangering the health of residents, terming their act as violation of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.
In the final order recently, the National Green Tribunal ordered that airlines emptying toilet tanks during flight will have to pay a fine of Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation.
But the petitioner is not thrilled. And here are the reasons:
‘Penalty not enough’
Speaking to ScoopWhoop, the retired Army man explained why the fine is not incentive enough for the airlines to spare residents of the nightmare.
“The amount of penalty/fine on aircraft dumping waste on the capital city should have been equal to or much more than that are payable to the ground handling service provider at the airport for cleaning the tank of the human waste so that the incentive to drop the same on the capital city for financial gain is not there,” Lt Gen(Retd) Dahiya said.
Just in case you are wondering how does one know which airline’s flight has discharged waste, Dahiya said it is easily traceable.
He said, “There are many runways which are numbered and, depending upon which one of them is operational that particular day, the flight can be traced.”
He also said that if a plane has an empty tank after landing, it means the waste has been discharged during flight. And why do airlines prefer to dump the waste in the air? To save cost, as each gram of the waste costs them some amount.
‘Disappointed with the government’
Lt Gen Dahiya said he was not happy with the government’s stance during the hearing of the case.
“The government’s attitude seem to be supporting pollution and not acting against it. The same govt which is talking about Swacch Bharat is actually not concerned about pollution. The conduct of the government was shocking during the entire ordeal,” Dahiya said.
After filing the plea, six lawyers were hired by the government to defend the case, representing different departments including Ministry of Environment and Forest & Central Pollution Control Board.
The more shocking part was that even after being asked to pay a fine of Rs 5000 each after failing to argue the case in favour of the government, the lawyers didn’t pay the amount, Dahiya added.
Dahiya is not hopeful that the judgement will change things
He also said that the license of the airlines should be revoked for dumping waste in air.
“The license of the airlines emptying toilet tanks should be revoked for a few years. Because no where in the world any govt will allow its capital to be bombarded with waste,” said Lt Gen(Retd) Dahiya.
Another important issue raised by the petitioner was of the biological contaminant that can be used to spread virus leading to serious consequences on people’s health.
“The virus can be spread using biological contaminant and can destroy an entire city and there will be no way to find it who did it. The government has failed to argue on the above,” said Dahiya.
While giving the final judgement, the court slammed the Pollution Board for its report on the excreta. After the court asked the board to find out whether the excreta on Dahiya’s house walls was human’s or birds’, the board examined it and concluded that it was indeed shit but the source can’t be confirmed.
Dahiya said that he is not hopeful that these airlines will learn any lessons and refrain from dumping waste in the air.