Environmentalists and politicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda have expressed concerns over the rate at which Rwenzori mountain snow is melting. Rwenzori mountain is at the border of the two countries. They claim that the two countries could find themselves due to climatic change effects on the Ruwenzori Mountains.
According to Emma Bolingo, director of Conserve Congo, an NGO dedicated to environmental issues based in eastern Congo, “Ice on mountain Rwenzori is melting at a very fast rate. The melting of ice has increased water flow downstream into the Semuliki River, which has been one of the features demarcating the boundary between Uganda and DRC. Once Semuliki river dries up, border conflicts between the two countries are likely to come up.”
Dr. Aryamanya Mugisha, the Uganda National Environment Management Authority Executive Director, said, “There is climate change in the region. The melting of the ice, which is believed to have begun two decades ago, is proof enough that climate change is affecting the region.”
He said that the drying of the river could spark off a dispute between Uganda and the DRC, because both countries have for long relied on River Semuliki as boundary marks.
Scientists predict that the Ice caps at Rwenzori will disappear by 2050 if temperatures continue to rise.
Ugandan member of parliament, David Ebong who is also Chairperson of Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change, says that “it is unfortunate that there is a climate change which is already affecting the environment. The government should now integrate Climate change issues in every aspect of future planning for the country.”
Although Rwenzori mountain is close to the equator, an area with no winter season, its peak is snow-capped. The site is very popular with tourists.