Wildlife activists in the City have come together to call for a total ban on Chinese Manja, the string used in flying kites, saying it has been injuring and killing birds.
Three wildlife activists — Sharath Babu from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) wildlife cell, Prof S Subramanya from the University for Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru, and Mohammed Dilawar from Nature Forever Society — have come together for the purpose. They have also authored ‘Kite flying: Effect of Chinese Manja on birds in Bangalore’ in the journal ‘Indian Birds’.
The ban on Chinese Manja should not just restrict its sale and use but also prevent its manufacture and import, the activists demanded. They have sought a countrywide ban on the use of Chinese Manja.
Kite-flying threads have evolved from traditional cotton threads to nylon or synthetic strings, popularly called Chinese Manja. During the sport of kite-flying, the aim is to cut the string of another airborne kite by entangling its strings and allowing friction to wear away. When the string of a kite is severed midway, it drops down along with the kite and gets intertwined in the branches of trees, tall buildings and other tall man-made structures. However, birds get inextricably entangled in these manja strings and end up getting suspended from them and get injured, according to the study report published in ‘Indian Birds’.
Since 2010, nearly 268 birds comprising 10–13 species have been rescued from Chinese Manja traps. These birds sustained various degrees of injuries and some of them eventually succumbed. While, small birds were not affected, the effect of the manja was more on larger birds such as black kites (milvus migrans) and crows, which are the prime victims, the study says.
Sowmya Reddy, member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, has addressed a letter to the additional chief secretary, forest, ecology and environment department, to prohibit the sale of Chinese Manja in Karnataka. However, no action has been taken yet. She said she would meet forest officials to push for ban on the lethal string that has been harming the birds in Bengaluru. Gujarat, where kite-flying is a popular sport, banned the use of Chinese Manja in 2011.
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