PETA India has filed an appeal in the Honourable Supreme Court of India asking that the partial ban on manja by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) be amended to include glass-coated cotton manja. The petition aims to expand the scope of the NGT order dated 11 July 2017, which rightly placed a complete nationwide ban on the use of synthetic and nylon manja. PETA’s petition seeks a ban on all forms of manja, including cotton threads coated with glass, metal, or any other sharp material.
PETA had previously filed a petition in the NGT in August 2016, and in December, the NGT issued an interim ban on the production, sale, procurement, and import of all forms of manja and allowed kite flying to be done only with a plain cotton thread. However, on 6 July 2017, the NGT diluted its earlier interim order by excluding from the ban the use of cotton thread coated with glass, which it appeared to consider a “degradable” material. However, these glass shards can be deadly for animals and humans and remain intact in the environment for many years – glass bottles take an estimated 1 million years to biodegrade – and may, in fact, never biodegrade. It’s noteworthy that after PETA’s push, in January 2017, the Government of Delhi banned all forms of sharp manja and allowed kite flying to be done only with a plain cotton thread free of any sharp coating.
In 2014, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change issued an advisory to all states and union territories asking them to address threat from manja, and in 2013, the Animal Welfare Board of India wrote to all states and union territories urging them to ban it.
During the case proceedings in the NGT, PETA’s counsel scientifically demonstrated to the court that, except for uncoated plain cotton threads traditionally known as saddi, all threads cause grievous injuries to humans and birds when used in kite flying. The case was also supported by affidavits from several victims who had sustained manja-related injuries and from the family members of those who had been injured or killed by glass-coated manja.