Waterfalls – Nature’s precious gift
Who is not captivated by the beauty of a waterfall? Have you been
within the range of the falling ‘mist’ under a waterfall? A waterfall in
full flow is one of the most beautiful sights in nature. Our island Sri
Lanka is blessed with a large number of waterfalls, which attract both
local and foreign tourists.
Did you know that waterfalls have their own day? It is November 26.
World Waterfalls Day is dedicated to celebrating these wonderful
creations of Mother Nature, from the magnificent Angel in Venezuela to
the remarkable Victoria in Zimbabwe.
Why should the world ‘celebrate’ waterfalls? First, they are marvels
that few other natural formations on Earth can match. Second, they help
sustain whole communities who depend on their waters for agriculture,
drinking purposes and other activities. Third, they are in danger. Not
all, but a good number of them.
It’s tragic when a waterfall runs dry. Climate change, dam
construction and many other factors are literally taking the water out
of waterfalls, leaving a ghastly void and a heavy impact on the
ecosystem. World Waterfalls Day focuses our attention on this issue.
Worldwide, environmental activists are actively campaigning to stop the
death of waterfalls.
A waterfall need not be a thing of beauty alone. Here in Sri Lanka,
there are many examples of mini hydro power plants that are located near
waterfalls, without necessarily erecting huge dams. Such projects add
value to waterfalls and could be an effective way for most Third World
countries with water resources to generate additional power. Then
there’s tourist income from waterfalls which should rightly be
channelled to the community itself.
Waterfalls should be treasured by all. It is certainly relaxing and
refreshing to bathe under the cascading waters of a waterfall, but those
pristine waters should not be littered with bottles, lunch sheets and
other polythene, food items etc. The environs of waterfalls should be
kept clean at all times. It is not only the responsibility of the
particular local government authority but also that of visitors.
Waterfalls do not even to have to be natural these days. At least one
passenger ship has an artificial waterfall in its atrium, many public
buildings/gardens across the world feature waterfalls and even luxury
homes with large gardens have a waterfall built-in. Such is their hold
over our imagination. Though artificial, they help us to connect with
nature and take our minds to far-off (real) waterfalls.
Visiting such waterfalls is an addictive experience. There are many
people around the world who visit various countries just to see their
waterfalls. The web has many such examples. After all, only a close
glimpse of a mighty waterfall can remind us that we should save these
wonders for posterity. This World Waterfalls Day, visit a waterfall and
see for yourself.