Sugar cane factory La Troncal, Ecuador


In 1966 the state company Azucarera Tropical Americana S.A. (AZTRA) was installed in the province of Canar as a pole of development in the area. High temperatures are needed to elaborate sugar. This was obtained from combustion of crushed sugar cane waste. As a result from this combustion, an enormous amount of ashes and smoke came out of the chimneys of the factory. Health and environmental damage to humans reached such high levels that the population mobilized demanding from the company the introduction of technological improvements in order to avoid contamination from combustion.

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Basic Data
NameSugar cane factory La Troncal, Ecuador
SiteLa Troncal
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Manufacturing activities
Specific Commodities
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsResearch by the university ESPOL determined that the contamination of ashes caused by the company reached 13,2gr/1m2 during the six working months of the plant(January-June). This meant 9,500 Tons of ashes deposited in the urban area after six months of activity.

Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date1988
Company Names or State EnterprisesAzucarera Tropical Americana S.A from Ecuador
Relevant government actorsThe Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Integration and Fish., National Finance Corporation, Municipality of La Troncal.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCorporacion de la Defensa de la Vida-CORDAVI (the Corporation for the Defense of Life), Coordinadora Popular (Popular Coordinating Committee), Facultad de Comunicacion Social-FACSO (University of Social Comunication ), Comision Ecumenica de Derechos Humanos-CEDHU (The Ecumenical Human Rights Commission), Comite Ecolgico de la Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral-ESPOL (Ecological Committee from the ESPOL), Asociacion de Medicos Afines del canton La Troncal (Medical Association of the La Troncal county).
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
-Festival against the ashes -Popular assemblies
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseTechnical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The company introduced mechanisms to reduce the quantity of ashes and smoke generated.
Sources and Materials

Varea, Anamara, Carmen Barrera, Ana mara Maldonado, Lourdes Endara, Byron real, Victoria Reyes, Guillermo Robalino. 1997. Desarrollo Eco-ilogico. Conflictos socioambientales desde la selva hasta el mar. CEDEP/Abya-Yala

Meta Information
ContributorSara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014