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Simulation of the Glyphosate Aerial Spray Drift at the Ecuador-Colombia border

Glyphosate is one of the herbicides used by the Colombian government to spray coca fields close to the Ecuadorian border. The sprays have been taking place for a number of years and have been more frequent since 2000 (when "Plan Colombia" started).

Plane spraying forest
(Image source: Wikipedia)

The spray drifts into Ecuadorian territory have become a big issue for people living close to the border. Their negative impact on health and agriculture have been observed and confirmed by intensive studies (e.g. [Avila et. al.  2007]). Hence, in 2005 Ecuador and Colombia signed an agreement to stop the sprays along a 10 km stripe at the border. However, measurements on Ecuadorian territory indicate that significant amounts of Glyphosate spray have still drifted into Ecuador.
The main goals of this project are to develop a (reverse) numerical simulation of the spray drift, analyze whether the 10 km range is enough to protect Ecuadorian territory and assess whether the agreement has been respected.

Spraying along Ecuador-Colombia border
Illustration of 10 km strip along the Ecuador-Colombia border. (Airplane not to scale.)

The video presented below gives a survey of the problems at hand and briefly introduces the strategy propose to solve it.

Promotional video for the project.

The video has been part of a project presentation open to the public in the Centro de Exposiones Quito in Ecuador. The spanish original version is available here.

Posters related with the project

  • presentation poster ; Feria SENACYT 2009;Centro de Exposiciones Quito, december 11.-13. 2009 Quito Ecuador


Prof. Dr. Hermann Mena (project director, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador)
Prof. Dr. Peter Benner (TU Chemnitz, Germany)
Dr. Rene Schneider (TU Chemnitz, Germany)
Dr. Jens Saak (TU Chemnitz, Germany)

Funded by:

SENACYT (Ecuadorian National Organization of Science)
Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador

Jens Saak, jens.saak@mathematik.tu-chemnitz.de