The letter reads, “The IMA is aware of the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal’s judgement dated 11 July 2017, which banned Chinese, Nylon, and plastic threads however, as doctors who have been treating patients with manja injuries, we strongly recommend that cotton threads coated with glass, metal or any sharp material be banned, too, as they are equally dangerous and capable of causing injuries or death to humans.”
It should be noted that after the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) judgment banning Chinese, nylon, and plastic threads, numerous cases of human injuries and deaths caused by manja have been reported. For example, on 12 February 2018, a woman in Pune died when her neck was cut by a sharp kite string.
On 17 January 2018, a 32-year-old man from Jaipur died after his throat was slit by one. In the latter case, the preliminary investigation by the police reportedly found that the string that killed him wasn’t Chinese, but it was equally fatal.
“Glass-coated manja cause humans and birds injuries and death, just as the banned variety do, so they must also be prohibited in the interest of public safety and wildlife protection,” says PETA Public Policy Lead Nikunj Sharma. “The prohibition on the use of synthetic and nylon manja was a life-saving step, but human and animal casualties will continue to occur until all dangerous varieties are banned.”
PETA India had previously filed a petition with the NGT, and in December 2016, the tribunal issued an interim ban on the production, sale, procurement, and import of all forms of manja.
It allowed kite flying to be done only with a plain cotton thread. However, on 11 July 2017, the NGT diluted its earlier interim order by excluding from the ban cotton thread coated with glass, which it appeared to consider a “degradable” material.
It’s noteworthy that after PETA India’s push, in January 2017, the Government of Delhi banned all forms of sharp manja and permitted only plain cotton threads free of any sharp coating to be used for kite flying.
In 2014, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued an advisory to all states and union territories asking them to address the threat posed by manja, and in 2013, the Animal Welfare Board of India wrote to all states and union territories urging them to ban it.
Thousands of birds are killed every year when they’re cut or trapped by manja, which can remain tangled in trees or on buildings for weeks.
The Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir bird hospital in Delhi received 700 birds who’d been injured by the strings during just three days of Independence Day celebrations in 2017.
And a bird rescuer in Ahmedabad estimates that 2,000 birds – including pigeons and endangered species, such as vultures – are injured every year during the city’s Uttarayan festival, and 500 of them die from their injuries.>