The government of Andhra Pradesh has banned Chinese 'manja' or the sharp string used to fly kites on Makar Sankranti festival and other occasions. The action comes following a letter written by the union ministry of environment to the state government about the threat posed by Chinese 'manja' to birds. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, which has been campaigning for a total ban on 'manja', welcomed the move.
The department of environment, forests, science and technology, through the orders issued a few days ago, banned procuring, stocking, sale and use of 'manja', also known as Chinese 'dor' (string), made of nylon and coated with finely crushed glass. It also banned other synthetic (non-biodegradable) threads coated with glass or other harmful substances and likely to cause injury to animals and humans. All the departments have been directed to sensitise people not to use such material.
The principal chief conservator of forests of Andhra Pradesh had also requested the department to ban the 'manja' in the interest of conservation of wildlife and welfare of human beings. PETA, in a statement, said it had written to the chief minister and environment minister for the ban on 'manja' which kills thousands of birds every year, including those who are endangered.
"Most people care about wildlife and would choose plain cotton kite strings if they knew that it would spare birds and humans the risk of serious injury and death," says PETA Government Affairs Liaison Nikunj Sharma. Several states have already banned 'manja'. Telangana imposed a ban in January this year on the eve of Sankranti.
According to estimates, more than 300 birds were injured in Hyderabad in 2015 during Sankranti, and more than 100 were killed. A bird rescuer in Ahmedabad estimates that 2,000 birds -- including pigeons, kites and vultures -- are injured every year during the city's Uttarayan festival and that 500 of them die from their injuries.