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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
Name of conflict:Sugar cane factory La Troncal, Ecuador
State or province:Canar
Location of conflict:La 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 details:

Research 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.

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Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:1988
Company names or state enterprises:Azucarera Tropical Americana S.A from Ecuador
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Integration and Fish., National Finance Corporation, Municipality of La Troncal.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Corporacion 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).
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Artistic 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
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The company introduced mechanisms to reduce the quantity of ashes and smoke generated.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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

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Contributor:Sara Latorre
Last update08/04/2014
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