The nationwide ban on non-biodegradable kite strings (nylon and glass coated synthetic manjha) by the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday brought joy to the kite trading fraternity.

PETA also welcomed the decision. The tribunal bench led by Justice Swantanter Kumar (retd), chairperson of NGT, directed all state governments to ban manufacture, sale, storage and purchase of manjha.

The final hearing on the matter was held on 12 April. The cry against use of non-biodegradable materials for kite flying turned loud after they were reported to be the cause of several cases of serious injuries and and even deaths.

In a telephonic conversation, chairperson of Bareilly-based Handloom Manjha and Kites Employees Welfare Association Kamal Asif told The Statesman, “In 2016, Tareekh Habid, a lawyer filed a PIL in Moradabad regarding the ban on nylon strings. PETA interfered in the matter and stated that cotton strings were equally harmful and they too should be banned.

PETA’s claims were far-fetched and we explained to the honorable court that cotton strings are the traditional kite strings which do not cause much harm.

Many parents approached me to report severe injuries which their kids had suffered after using non-biodegradable strings. I am extremely delighted with the fact that the court acknowledged our point and only banned nylon strings.

Noida, Haryana, Delhi and Ghaziabad are among the states where factories that manufacture synthetic strings are situated. Mahender Kumar, 37, runs a kite shop at Lal Kuan, Old Delhi and has participated in international kite competitions.

He expressed his satisfaction with the ban. “Non-biodegradable strings are cheaper than traditional strings. More people opted for them but ended up paying a heavy price due to their harmful nature. Now that a ban has been imposed on nylon strings, it augurs well for those who are passionate about flying kites,” said Kumar.

Last August two children died in a bizarre accident when they went out on a drive with their father. Both the children had their heads out of the car's sunroof when they got entangled with a nylon kite string that fatally slit their necks.

It was also noticed that strings made from artificial material were good conductors of electricity. It was common to see them entangled on wires and cases were reported of many birds getting electrocuted after coming in contact with them.

This led to the involvement of PETA in the matter,” said Bishan, owner of Bishan Chand & Sons. Bishan’s family is celebrating the ban as they feel that this will definitely provide a boost to their business.

Kajal, wife of Bishan said, “we are hoping now the sale of traditional strings will increase and people will realise the harmful effects of synthetic strings. Flying kites is an old tradition and pastime which families enjoy together. Things which can cause harm should be kept away.”