The National Green Tribunal has directed airlines to pay Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation if their aircraft empties its waste tanks mid-flight, PTI reported. The tribunal was hearing a plea made by a retired army officer who alleged that aircraft drop human excreta over residential areas near the Delhi airport. The petitioner termed the act as a violation of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.

The NGT directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to issue a circular to all ground handling services and airlines to ensure they do not drop human waste while landing or anywhere near the terminals of the airport.

The tribunal said the amount collected as fine from the airlines should be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board for environment protection. It also directed the DGCA to set up a helpline number to address such complaints.

The tribunal had earlier imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the Environment Ministry and Civil Aviation Ministry for failing to inspect the plea. While the aviation ministry had opposed the argument, some officials acknowledged that lavatory leaks can occur in the air at times.