Over 1,500 birds injured by kite strings in the last fortnight
Veterinarians and animal rescue groups have observed that this year, the number of birds injured by manjhas (kite strings) has increased.Updated: Aug 15, 2020, 23:52 IST
Feathers snapped, throats slit and strings entangled in their claws—a large number of birds in the national capital have reportedly fallen prey to kite strings in the last fortnight.
Veterinarians and animal rescue groups have observed that this year, the number of birds injured by manjhas (kite strings) has increased.
Sunil Jain, manager at the Charitable Bird Hospital in Chandni Chowk, said that between August 1 and August 15, they received at least 1,000 cases of manjha-related injuries. Last year in the same period, the hospital received around 700 such cases.
“We have definitely admitted a higher number of birds injured by kite strings to the hospital this year. We assume that since more people are working from home these days, they are entertaining themselves by flying kites. However, a lot of varieties of strings are extremely dangerous for birds; many die during treatment from serious injuries and others are maimed for life,” Jain said.
Other animal rescue helplines and veterinary hospitals have also observed a similar trend. The Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre has admitted at least 580 birds injured by kite strings during the same period.
The Delhi Police said that they have been conducting raids at popular markets to book kite sellers who sell banned varieties of kite strings. Last week, ahead of Independence Day when the sale of kites was at its peak, the police raided over 50 shops in areas such as Chawri Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Lal Kuan and Chand Mohalla, and booked around 15 sellers. A Delhi Police officer, who did not wish to be named, said that the sellers were booked under Section five of the Environment Protection Act (1986), which gives the government the power to issue directions and orders for the protection of environmental interests.
Experts said that the reason behind such cases is the rampant and unchecked sale of Chinese manjha, which is made of plastic and nylon, and Bareilly ka manjha, which is coated with crushed glass or metal. The Supreme Court, in November 2017, had refused to lift the ban on these types of kite strings brought into effect by the National Green Tribunal in 2016. The Delhi government had also given a separate order for a ban in 2017.
“These kite strings are not only fatal for birds and animals but have also caused serious injuries to human beings. After many such incidents in 2017, the Delhi government banned the sale of both Chinese and Bareilly ka manjha. But they are still openly sold at local markets and, every year before the Independence Day, innocent birds become victims,” Sujata Singh, an animal rights activist, said.
Explaining the injuries caused to birds by these dangerous varieties of kite strings, Singh said that most birds’ wings are damaged. Though there may not be immediate repercussions, if birds continue to fly, the injuries worsen and get infected.
“The Chinese manjha and the Bareilly ka manjha are popular among people because they make it easier to cut an opponent’s kite easily. It is the sharpness of these strings that causes grievous injuries,” she said.