Hyderabad: Sankranti is a kite festival which turns both land and sky of twin cities into multicoloured. Kites of different varieties, sizes, colours and patterns would dominate the higher altitude which even the eagles would envy.
However, after the week of Sankranti, the environment has to pay a heavy price for kite running. Almost 90 percent of the kites are made from plastic which would remain as debris and traumatize the ecology forever. According to Khaleed of Mahboob Aziz Patang House, “The customers prefer plastic kites to paper ones.
It is because the former won’t tear apart easily, and one kite would be sufficient to run for one week.” Notably, lakhs of kites are sold in Hyderabad during the week of Sankranti and the lion’s share of the kite sale is made of plastic. “It is not because of the price people prefer plastic kites. Both sections have different types of kites ranging from Rs 3 to Rs 300. It is the durability and glossiness of the plastic kite that attracts more customers,” Haseem, another kite entrepreneur quipped. “Also, the variety of patterns in the plastic kites such as Modi Kite, Chotta Bheem and Fighter Pilot etc. make the customers sway towards plastic kites,” he added.
Prof Purushotham Reddy, an eminent environmentalist and the head of advisory board of TECCI, harshly criticised the laxity of government in controlling plastic kites. “This is a huge menace for the environment. People are distorting the ecological balance for temporary gratifications and fun. Government should act proactively to hinder such practices,” he claimed. He also said that, “only through government policy measures such challenges could be addressed. Banning the plastic is a welcome move but the negligence in implementation during these festival periods actually makes it a mug’s game,” he complained.
Another environmentalist Dr. K Babu Rao also slacked the government for not putting any effort to control the flooding of plastic kites in the market and environment. “The government should be more responsible in upholding its policies to protect the environment. The excuse of helping the poor kite mongers doesn’t hold water. People are in this business for the past two centuries and they will continue to flourish even if there are no plastic kites,” He commended.
According to the Telangana Pollution Control Board, Hyderabad is throwing away 517.8 tonnes of plastic on a normal day. There would be an exponential increase in plastic waste during the Sankranti week as stated by experts. The government has to come out of its festival lethargy and has to act at war footing like a responsible entity to protect nature and to bring out a sustainable Sankranti festival.