Be careful while flying kites

The kite festival of Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti) is regarded as one of the biggest festivals celebrated in the western part of India. It marks the transition of the sun into the zodiacal sign of Makara (Capricorn) on its celestial path. The day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India. The tradition of kite flying is believed to have started amongst the kings and royalties. However, over the years, it has become a popular sport and has begun to reach the common mass.
Kites flown are known to use a strong special string which is made by applying glass powder on it (known as manjha) to provide it a cutting edge. This practice of using an abrasive thread for kite fighting has posed a great threat to birds and even humans. The impact on birds however is much larger. Birds when in flight, fail to notice the fine glass-coated thread, get entangled in it and injure themselves causing fractures, mutilation of wings and nerve injuries. At times, the minute glass pieces used in the manjha get embedded in their bodies adding to the misery and eventual death. Additionally, these strings unlike their cotton counterpart do not lose its strength even after getting wet and hence stays for a long time in the environment, creating potential threat for the birds both local and migratory.
Jubel D Cruz
India

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