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NGT bans ‘manja’ across the country

In an interim order passed on Wednesday, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned nylon and glass-coated cotton kite strings or manja across the country in view of its threat to humans, animals, and birds. The nationwide ban will be in place till the next hearing on February 1, 2017, which means that the sale of nylon or Chinese manja, synthetic manja, and cotton manja coated with glass will not be permitted during Makar Sankranti. Kite-flying enthusiasts though, will be able to use cotton kite strings.

While passing the order, the principal bench, headed by NGT chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar, has directed the Manja Association of India to submit a detailed report on the adverse effects of the kite strings to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). On the basis of that report, CPCB will submit its recommendations to the Tribunal for a long-term solution on the issue.

The principal bench, headed by NGT chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar, passed the interim order while hearing the petition of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The non-profit organization had sought a ban on use of harmful manjas on grounds that the sharp manjas have caused deaths in many parts of the country and every year low-flying kites and manjas cause injuries to hundreds of birds.

Besides pointing out the fatal consequences of getting lacerated by manjas the PETA petition also said that the nylon, metal, plastic, and synthetic manjas are non-biodegradable and pollute the environment and also cause electricity supply disruptions when they come in contact with power cables.

In 2014, the union environment, forest, and climate change ministry too issued an advisory to chief secretaries of all states and union territories to initiate action with regard to use of manja, the PETA petition mentioned. The advisory had stated that, “kite flyers who use such strings endanger birds such as pigeons, crows, owls, kites, and vultures”, that are threatened species.

During Wednesday’s hearing, PETA’s counsel senior advocate Sanjay Hegde informed the bench that the High Courts of Allahabad, Jammu and Kashmir, and Rajasthan had previously issued directives banning use of manja in their respective states.

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