The National Green Tribunal (NGT) put a temporary nationwide ban on the use of manja on 14 December 2016.
The order was passed by a bench chaired by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar, who said that the sharp glass coated manja used for flying kites poses a serious threat to humans, birds and animals alike. The panel stated that the ban would apply on nylon, cotton and Chinese manjas that are coated with glass and metal.
Apart from this, the Manja Association of India has been told to submit a report on the harmful effects of the kite strings to the Central Pollution Control Board.
The move followed a plea by senior advocate Sanjay Hedge and advocate Shadan Farasat on the behalf of the animal rights body -People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)-seeking a ban on the use of the kite strings, especially since Makar Sankranti is approaching and manja would be used then for flying kites.
The advocates also sought a ban on the manufacture, sale, import and use of the kite strings and referred to Allahabad High Court’s November 2015 order, which banned the use of Chinese manja in Uttar Pradesh, to support their case.
PETA in its petition had stated that the glass-coated string poses a great danger to both humans and animals and causes numerous deaths every year. PETA also laid out the danger the string poses when it comes in contact with live overhead electric wires, as it often acts as a good conductor of electricity and can lead to the electrocution of the kite flyer or any passer-by who comes in contact with the wire.
The animal rights body also raised concerns regarding minors employed by the cottage industry for manja manufacturing, as due to inhaling of harmful substances, they are more susceptible to respiratory problems.
Acting on the same, the green tribunal had earlier issued notices to all state governments, asking for their response on PETA’s plea.