Need is to go beyond campaigning
We asked: Why is kite flying still an enjoyable pastime in cities even as the Supreme Court acknowledges the dire consequences it has on birds? Who is to be blamed for this insensitive ignorance?
Kite flying is done with fun and fervour across however hundreds of birds are grievously injured every year by glass-coated kite strings that are used for flying kites. The injuries are mostly related to the wings and range from fractures, ligament and muscle separation and, worst of all, complete amputation of the wing. Bird injuries and deaths multiply around Makar Sankranti with children and adults flying kites using plastic and Chinese-made thread coated with glass. The birds get tangled in the strings and suffer grave injuries. Children, so immersed in chasing fallen kites, meet with serious accidents. According to Jivdaya Charitable Trust (JCT), an NGO working towards rescue and treatment of stray animals and birds in Ahmedabad; more than 3000+ birds are injured every year due to kite flying. So who is to be blamed? Shall we blame the festivals, people, government, vendors or birds? The list is endless but the issues remain. Beyond campaigning for the government to enforce synthetic ‘manjha’ bans, preparations need to be done. Part of that preparation involves education campaigns so people understand the dangers of kite flying. Groups like PETA India and WTI understand that it’s not always possible to stop people from wanting to take part in kite flying festivals, so they have some tips to try and minimise the risk. They recommend that people should opt for ‘saddi’, or plain, cotton with no additional coating. They also recommend people avoid flying kites in the morning or evening, when birds are more actively flying around. The advice is particularly relevant during Sankranti, which falls around the time when migratory birds pass through north India. That includes species like the greylag goose, bar-headed goose, the common teal which fly all the way from north and central Asia. Enjoy the sport of kite flying, but don't forget the birds. Jyoti Tiwari, Student
In one of his short stories, author Ruskin Bond describes a kite fight, “kites swerving and swooping in the sky, tangling with each other, until the string of one was swerved”. Kite flying is a popular sport in northern India but it can have dire consequences sometimes. The harmless cotton thread has now been replaced with the fatal glass-coated 'manjha' which can rip off the neck of birds and even humans. Despite the Supreme Court ban, it continues to be sold and used ad infinitum. The passionate kite-lovers do know what it entails for the flying birds but it is their sheer apathy that has kept the issue on the boil. Far from being a recreational sport, kite-flying has become competitive in spirit. The result is more and more use of the 'manjha', which provides them a competitive advantage over the cotton thread. The authorities find it difficult to implement the ban simply because it is nearly impossible to track down individual kite flyers and fix responsibility. It would be better that the very source of its production be booked and people be sensitized about the same. Bans simply don't work without the effective will of the people. Himanshi Shukla, Student
Topic of the month: Why are people opting for paved patios rather than ‘green lawns’ when need for clean air is being felt like never before? Who is to be blamed for sheer disregard for Masterplan and development laws? You may send your views in 200 words at [email protected] Please also attach a colour photo of yourself.