Agent Orange consequences to be overcome by 2020
HA NOI (VNS)— The Viet Nam-US Dialogue Group has announced its aim to overcome the consequences of Agent Orange (AO) and dioxin in Viet Nam by 2020 at the seventh meeting of the Viet Nam-US Joint Advisory Council (JAC) yesterday.
The two-day JAC meeting will review the handling of AO and dioxin environmental hotspots, humanitarian activities and dioxin treatment technologies.
The next five years will be key towards achieving the group's goal, starting with the treatment of dioxin contaminated soil at Da Nang Airport in 2012. In addition, the US Agency for International Development will provide more support for dioxin victims.
The national steering committee on overcoming the consequences of toxic chemicals used by the US during the war in Viet Nam has drafted a plan focusing on detoxification treatment of hotspots, prevention of exposure to dioxin, provision of support for locals living near hotspots, and better services for AO and dioxin victims.
The Viet Nam-US Dialogue Group brings together both Vietnamese and American individuals, scientists and policymakers, with a view to mobilising resources to deal with the consequences of AO/dioxin in Viet Nam.
By the end of last year, the group raised US$91 million for the clean-up of dioxin in Da Nang, Bien Hoa and Phu Cat. Of the sum, one third went to health care programmes in eight provinces nationwide, benefiting 20,000 people with disabilities.
The group's activities have so far helped bring about positive changes. On December 22, 2011, US President Obama signed an Act on Budget Allocation for 2012, under which, $15 million was given to tackling dioxin hotspots in Da Nang airport and US$5 million went to a health care programme targeting dioxin-contaminated areas.
Last year, the Vietnamese Government also pledged to invest VND28 billion ($1.3 million) in caring for AO and dioxin-infected victims in Friendship Village.
So far, the biological dioxin treatment technology has been applied successfully at Da Nang airport. It is expected to be used in other large-scale areas in the coming time. — VNS