Mumbai: The Mumbai Police’s ban on the use of glass-coated ‘manja’, or string, for kites ahead of the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti on January 14 got another thrust with the Supreme Court today refusing to lift the interim ban on it by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The Supreme Court said the petitioners, a group of traders from Gujarat who had approached the apex court for lifting the interim ban issued on December 14, 2016, can move the NGT for appropriate relief.

The counsel appearing for the traders said that ‘manja’ has been used to fly kites for decades and there has never been a problem of it being a threat to humans, animals and birds.

The NGT, which banned manja last year said the string coated with glass and metal powder posed a threat to the environment. The green panel had said the ban order applied to nylon, Chinese and cotton manja, too, and directed the Manja Association of India to submit a report to the Central Pollution Control Board on the harmful effects of kite strings.

The Mumbai Police that issued the prohibitory order on Thursday said, “Whereas during the kite-flying festival, injury is caused to the people and birds on account of pucca (strong) thread made out of plastic or similar such synthetic material commonly known as nylon manja. These injuries many a times turn out to be fatal causing death of people and birds. It is therefore desirable to protect the people and birds from the fatal effects of the kite flying thread made out of nylon or plastic or synthetic thread.”

The police here banned the use, sale and storage of nylon manja for flying kites until February 11. Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe passed the order on Thursday under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

Flying kites during this festival is commonly enjoyed by young and old across the country but a part of the fun, supposedly, is that the competition requires cutting one another’s kite strings.

The city police also pointed out that even after the festival “these threads continue to cause problems such as blockages of sewers, drainage lines, natural water ways such as rivers, streams” and so on. They say cattle too suffocate when they ingest food nylon/plastic material.

According to the order, the use of manja also results in “flashover on power lines and substations, which cause power interruptions.”