Kite flying: India
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Casualties in the sport of kite flying, July-August 2016
At least 16 people died in various kite-flying related accidents across the state on Uttarayan. While most of them died after their throats were slit by the glasscoated manja, others took place when the victims tried to catch kites, falling from terrace and electrocution.
Apart from these tragedies at least six flights were delayed after Chinese latterns, kites and traditional tukkals were found on Ahmedabad runway. The airport authorities had to ensure that the approach of funnel of runway was clear before they allowed any flight to take off or land.
The deaths were reported from Rajkot, Morbi, Ahmedabad, Vadodara city, Khambhat, Mehsana, Surat, Bharuch and Banaskantha. The 108 ambulance service also received 35 calls about Uttarayan-related accidents in two days. In Rajkot, a person was crushed under the train when he ran on the tracks to catch a kite. A 45-year-old person died after falling off the terrace while flying kites while a 14-year-old was electrocuted while trying to remove the kite stuck in a wire.
NGT bans on non-biodegradable mãnjhã
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed on Tuesday a complete ban on manjha (kite string) made of nylon or any non-biodegradable synthetic material as it poses a threat to humans, birds and animals and is harmful for the environment. A bench led by NGT chief Justice (retd) Swatanter Kumar directed all states to prohibit the “manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use“ of such manjha made of nylon or any non-biodegradable synthetic material.The green panel also clarified that the ban order would apply to nylon, Chinese and cotton manjha coated with glass as it was harmful for both humans and birds.
“There shall be a total ban on the manjha or thread for kite-flying which is made of nylon or any other synthetic material andor is coated with synthetic substance and is non-biodegradable,“ the green bench said in its order. It added that all states had the duty to inform the dis trict magistrate to enforce the ban with immediate effect and execute the order of the tribunal. “All chief secretaries of states and Union territories are directed to enforce prohibition on manufacture and use of synthetic manjha nylon thread for flying kites throughout the country ,“ the bench added.
The judgment came on a plea which had been filed by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) and others which had argued that such kinds of manjha posed a threat to the lives of humans, animals and even birds with a number of deaths reported each year. “Due to `manjha' being coated with glass, metals and other sharp material, these strings act as good con ductors of electricity , increasing the probability of detached manjha strings stuck in power lines electrocuting kite flyers and passers-by coming into contact with these strings,“ the petition submitted by Peta had said.
In the petition, Peta had said that children were engaged by the cottage industry for the manufacture of manjha which was causing respiratory problems as they were inhaling harmful substances hazardous to their health.
Earlier in December, the green panel had imposed an interim nationwide ban on the use of glass-coated manjha, citing that it posed a threat to the environment. The bench had said the ban would apply to nylon, Chinese and cotton manjha coated with glass and had directed the Manja Association of India to submit a report to CPCB on its harmful effects.
Birds killed in 2016, 2017
Over 600 birds injured by kite strings, 100 more than last year
Close to 600 birds were reported injured at the Charity Bird Hospital on Tuesday after people took to kite-flying to celebrate Independence Day . The hospital says numbers have shot up from last year, despite a ban on nylon and synthetic manjha in the capital.
“We have seen a slight increase in these numbers from last year despite the manjha ban,“ said Sunil Jain, manager at the facility in Chandni Chowk run by Digamber Jain community . “Last year about 500 birds were reported injured, but this year the number is between 550 to 600. About 100 of these birds died, while the remaining are badly injured.“ He said pieces of manjha were found to have caused injuries in a number of these birds. The string is dangerous for birds as it cuts through their bones and wings, causing a painful death in most cases.
“We found pieces of manjha and glass shards in the necks and wings of these injured birds. The ban has had no effect,“ said Jain.
The birds at the hospital -ranging from peacocks to pigeons and mynahs -are first treated by removing the manjha, followed by applying ointments on the wounds before bandaging them. The birds are then kept in a separate area until they heal.
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), meanwhile, received over 75 calls on Tuesday alone reporting injuries to birds due to kite flying. PETA officials said the actual number of injuries and deaths will be much higher.
“Glass-coated manjha is dangerous both for humans and for wildlife. Until there is a complete ban on all forms of manjha including the glass-coated one popularly known as Bareilly ka manjha, casualties to birds and humans will continue to take place,“ said Nikunj Sharma, head of public policy , PETA India.