Thursday, June 01, 2017

Why IndiGo's pest control methods for planes don't fly with India's health

On May 31, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the Zika virus had finally made its way into India. With the authorities confirming three cases, Zika has now emerged as a real and present threat at home. For a country that is densely populated and bracing up for the monsoon, the news and the subsequent warning have understandably created fear. And IndiGo airlines — a major aviation player — plans to use this to its advantage against an NGT order.

Soon after the WHO announcement, the airlines reportedly moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against a previous ruling by the green body that enforced a blanket ban on the spraying of disinfectants in all aircraft having passengers on board.

According to PTI, in August 2015, the NGT directed the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ensure no disinfectant fumigation is carried out in a plane while a person is sitting inside.

The direction came in response to a plea that contended the spraying of chemicals like phenothrin to counter the mosquito menace was injurious to health as their use carries the risk of cancer and auto-immune diseases like lupus, Parkinson’s disease, and memory loss.

Agreeing with the plea filed by Dr Jain Kumar, a United States-based neurologist and director of the Primary Stroke Centre at Baylor Hospital in Texas, the green court said, "You are supposed to kill mosquitoes, not human beings. You cannot take a risk with the health of the people. Carry out the disinfectant fumigation prior to loading of passengers or when the aircraft is empty".
31/05/17 Sushant Talwar/Daly O