An investigation has been launched after residents near Delhi Airport claimed they were being showered with human faeces from planes flying overhead.
India’s environmental court, the National Green Tribunal, formed a special committee on Friday 1 December and tasked it with looking into the claims, reports the India Times.
The committee will include representatives from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Central Avian Research Institute and the Central Pollution Control Board.
The investigation follows multiple complaints from people living locally to the airport. Last year, after residents from the same neighbourhood reported instances of aircraft dumping sewage while still in flight, a tribunal ruled that “any aircraft, airlines and the handling services of registered aircraft” found getting rid of waste in the air would be fined 50,000 rupee (£578) as “environmental compensation”.
After these fresh claims, the committee is testing whether the faeces found near the airport are from humans, rather than birds. Samples will be tested to determine the origin; the DGCA will also do surprise spot checks on aircraft landing at Delhi Airport to check their toilet tanks haven’t already been emptied prior to landing.
Flushing the toilet on a plane opens a valve in the bottom of the bowl – the contents are sucked by vacuum down a sewer line and into a 200-gallon holding tank. Waste should then remain in this tank for the duration of the flight, to be vacuumed out by sanitation crews only once the aircraft has landed. There’s an exterior latch on the holding tank so that pilots don't accidentally dump the sewage in mid-air.
However, this isn’t the first time residents near an airport have claimed to have been rained on by human excrement.
In January Bethany Bowker, a resident of Salt Lake City who lives near the airport, posted a video on Facebook claiming her driveway was spattered with human faeces after a plane leaked it from overhead.
She said: “‘I want some answers, why in the world would they be doing this?’