Order satiates long-pending demand of bird-watchers
The skies of the city may just become a bit safer for our avian denizens.
The State government has banned the contentious Chinese manja (string), which is made of nylon or other synthetic material and coated with glass or harmful substances to give the kite flier a ‘competitive’ edge over rivals. Unlike cotton strings, Chinese threads are non-biodegradable and have the strength to entangle birds.
The notification was signed on June 24 and was issued by the Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment. Those found hawking, stocking and using the strings will be booked under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963, and the Environment (Protection) Act.
The order satiates a long-pending demand of bird-watchers, many of whom had sent representations to the Chief Minister after coming across numerous birds entangled in such strings.
“The ban is the culmination of a six-year struggle. And, for the first time in the country, forest officials as well as local BBMP officials will be able to file cases under the Environment Act, which will make enforcement of the ban stringent,” said Sharath Babu, Honorary Wildlife Warden, Bengaluru.
Impact of the killer manja
Mr. Babu and ecologists S. Subramanya and Mohammad Dilawar researched the problem. Between 2010 and 2014, 268 birds of 13 species were rescued from entangled wires by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike volunteers and activists.
Black Kites, because of their large size, made up nearly 70 per cent of the victims. Notably, most of the birds were rescued from old, densely-populated residential areas where kite-flying has evolved as a traditional, competitive sport.
The study notes that most of the birds are entangled during January and February when kite-flying reaches the height of its popularity in the city.