Monday, June 21, 2021
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Ban on glass coated kite strings

C.K. Subramaniam,  Glass Coated Manja, Kites
An Indian kite thread maker prepare kite strings, in Allahabad on September 29, 2015. (Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto) (Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a nationwide interim ban on the procurement, sale and use of glass powder coated manjha (strings) and other dangerous kite strings. This is a step in the right direction as we observe many accidents occur during Sankranti festival and some of them prove fatal as the glass powder coated strings strike people unaware while travelling by vehicles or as pedestrians through the busy streets. Such incidents have been happening for decades and no one took serious action on kite flying menace with banned manjhas. The glass powder coated kite string not only posed a threat to birds, animals and humans but also caused harm to the environment as well.

During Makar Sankranti people around India fly kites and celebrate the harvest festival in a fitting way. In Gujarat people did make it a big festival and State Government sponsored competitions are taking place. Even foreigners are taking part in the celebrations. However, the danger relating to kite flying is too many. First and foremost, know your surroundings and watch where you are going. Tripping and falling can actually result in some rather serious injuries including head trauma and broken bones in the most severe circumstances. Even in the less severe circumstances, bad cuts and sprains are certainly no walk in the park and give you testing time. Know the weather conditions that day before you even bring your kite out. Having your throat slit is statistically very rare, but it obviously can occur when flying a kite as evidenced above. If the wind takes hold of your kite and crashes it down, it could also cause harm to another person. This could cause just bruising, or if it hits them in the eye, a very serious and potentially life-threatening injury might occur.

Do not fly a kite near power lines because if it gets tangled, electrocution is a possibility. Standard power lines carry thousands of volts of electricity and this can prove fatal to human beings. If your kite gets stuck up in power lines do not attempt to retrieve it yourself. Instead call the utility company and notify them right away and they will come out and remove it. Granted, we do not see daily—or even monthly—media reports of kite-related deaths, they can happen any time. Safety is of foremost importance when you fly kites. The manjha used in flying kites is sharp one and can cause damage to the human limps and to animals as well. It is better to take all precautions rather than risk our life only for the sake of flying kites during Makar Sankranti day.

Better council prevailed and the ban order has been issued in advance. The stringent order was imposed after a petition by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals of India, which called for a nationwide ban on all kinds of sharp kite strings. The two wheeler riders suffer the most because of the injuries to their throat area by sharp kite string in different parts of the country. It is time to take remedial measures on priority basis to avoid further fatal accidents.

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