Kenya is a country renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse landscapes.
Kenya boasts a wide array of geographical features, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and travelers alike. From the beautiful white sandy beaches, blue oceans, and marine life to the natural savanna filled with wild animals. Kenya’s diverse geography is a testament to the awe-inspiring wonders that nature has to offer.
Fourteen Falls, also known as Chania Falls, a once pristine and enchanting natural wonder, embodying the unspoiled beauty of Kenya’s landscape.
Situated approximately 65 kilometers from Nairobi and just 15 kilometers south of Thika town, these falls held a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors alike. The name “Fourteen Falls” is derived from the 14 successive waterfalls that converge, creating a stunning spectacle. An impressive 80-foot waterfall, that was once a breathtaking display of nature’s power and grandeur.
However, over the years, this once breathtaking sight has turned into an eyesore. The pungent stench starts long before you reach the falls. Dirt and plastic flow fast in the waters which are now murky, grey, and heavy with metal pollutants. The sewerage comes from the factories and unplanned ‘developments’ in the urban towns of Thika and Nairobi.
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Ripple Effects of the Deteriorating 14 Falls
Besides the pollution at the falls, another concern looms the dropping water levels of the 14 Falls in Kenya. This has also become a growing concern for locals and visitors alike. This has been caused by a combination of factors, including climate change and human activities such as deforestation and water diversion. One of the primary causes of the dropping water levels is climate change.
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Rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall patterns have led to reduced water flow in the rivers that feed the falls. This has resulted in the falls losing their full flow, leaving visitors disappointed and concerned about the future of this natural wonder.
As the falls lost their allure, so too did the revenue stream, impacting both the county and the local guides who once thrived on tourist visits. Residents and the local tour guides have expressed deep concern for their health due to the severe pollution of the water.
Moreover, economic endeavors such as fishing and farming along the riverbanks have dwindled, if not completely ceased. The residents of Ngoliba and Maguguni villages, situated downstream, also express concern over the contamination, as the river constituted their primary source of water.
In an article by CGTN Africa, Kiambu County authorities have stated that the 14 Falls are poised to regain their former allure.
John Mugwe, the advisor to Kiambu County Governor on Service Delivery, attributed the degradation of the falls to human activity, including non-responsible waste disposal.
He however noted that the county has rolled out plans to clean up the waters and make it more appealing to tourists.
“One of the things is to make sure that nobody discharges waste, especially the toxic waste into our river system,” said Mugwe.
“Currently we have a number of projects that are going on improving the sewerage system. All the way in Thika town in some estates and also in Juja. So as the river comes down, the more people will be connected to the sewerage system, the less pollution we will find here. The County has also done a marvelous job in garbage collection,” he added.
The county official expressed optimism that the current works successfully put the 14 Falls back on the list of places to visit by tourists.
This way, the region’s economy will receive a much-desired boost, with locals also getting better income from the various activities they will be able to engage in at the site.
“We want – as Kiambu County – to make the glory of it come back as it was before,” said Mugwe.
Clean-up Efforts at 14 Falls
There is an urgent call for the cleanup of Athi River by environmentalists, a waterway that winds its way from Ngong Hills in Nairobi to Tsavo East, all the way to the Indian Ocean. 14 falls lies along Athi River. Therefore, cleaning up the river has an effect on the falls.
Currently, the river carries a heavy load of trash and garbage, resulting in severe water pollution, particularly affecting 14 Falls.
In a separate article, Peter Mwaura Karuga, the Thika Sub-County environment officer, painted a grim picture of the situation, characterizing the waters as not only a danger to human health but also a threat to the local wildlife.
Mwaura highlighted “Despite the Kiambu County government’s efforts in organizing clean-up operations along the river three times a year, substantial heaps of waste persistently accumulate along the rocky terrains surrounding the 14 falls. This is a consequence of urban residents’ persisting in their detrimental waste disposal practices.”
The residents also do clean-up exercises that are aimed at improving the state of the falls, however, decry that despite their efforts the falls still face pollution when the rains come.
Overall, the dropping water levels and the pollution of the 14 Falls in Kenya is a worrying trend that requires urgent attention from both the government and the local communities.
The falls are not only an important tourist attraction but also a vital source of livelihood for many people in the area. As such, it is critical to take measures to address the root causes of the problem and preserve this natural wonder for future generations.