Animal rights activists in Mumbai, India, have been raising awareness about the dangers of China-made manjha, a thin nylon thread used for flying kites, often during Makar Sankranti, a Hindu observance and a festival celebrated in January dedicated to the solar deity Surya. The activists are asking the authorities not to sell this product in the open market, as it not only kills birds but can also seriously injure people. The Chinese manjha is a glass-coated synthetic string made of monofilament fishing lines, that is difficult to break, and birds can get entangled in it.

Sandeep Shah, an activist from Bird Helpline, said to The Time of India the following: “While the infamous Chinese manja, which is an unbreakable nylon threat, has been banned in many states as they cause a lot of damage among avian species and also to humans, some of the shopkeepers are still storing and selling this dangerous product. I am also urging all citizens to avoid flying kites too, as our fun can be fatal for the birds. Every year, we pick up hundreds of dead or injured birds.” 

Mitesh Jain, the honorary animal welfare officer of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), added: “Since the Chinese manja does not break easily, the poor birds can be fatally trapped in such a mesh on tree tops and high buildings. The Indian manja which is glass-coated can also seriously injure the birds. A team of activists will be meeting senior Mumbai police officials and also BMC officers to ensure that the kite-flying fest does minimal damage to birds and humans. Bird helplines will also be operating in all city areas to immediately attend to injured birds during Makar Sankranti.”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.