The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday imposed an interim nationwide ban on use of glass-coated ‘manja’ for flying kites as the sharp string poses a danger to humans, animals and birds. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar passed the order after noting that ‘manja’, string coated with glass and metal powder and used for flying kites, poses a threat to the environment.
The green panel said that the ban order would apply on nylon, Chinese and cotton manja coated with glass and directed Manja Association of India to submit report to Central Pollution Control Board on harmful effects of kite strings.
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The direction came after senior advocate Sanjay Hegde and advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for animal rights body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), sought the ban, saying that Makar Sankranti festival was approaching and manja would be used for flying kites.
They also referred to various orders, including the November 2015 order of the Allahabad High Court which banned the use of Chinese manja in entire Uttar Pradesh and sought a ban on “manufacture, import, sale and use” of these strings.
The matter was listed for next hearing on February 1, 2017.
The tribunal had earlier issued notices to all the state governments and sought their response on the plea of PETA on the matter.
In its petition, PETA has contended that ‘manja’ posed a grave threat to humans and animals as every year a number of deaths are caused by it.
“To increase the chances of being able to cut as many kites as possible, kite strings are made deliberately sharp with churned glass, metals and other materials in order to make them razor sharp to cut through other persons’ kite strings.
The petition had said ‘manja’ posed a huge threat when it came into contact with live overhead electric wires, leading to grid failure.
“Due to ‘manja’ being coated with glass, metals and other sharp material, these strings act as good conductors of electricity, increasing the probability of detached manja strings stuck in power lines, electrocuting kite flyers and passers-by coming into contact with these strings,” it said.
PETA had averred that minor children were engaged by the cottage industry for the manufacture of ‘manja’ which caused respiratory problems as they inhaled harmful substances which were extremely detrimental to their health.