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VietNamNews

US pays for cleanup of dioxin-tainted soil

Update: December, 05/2013 - 09:38
USAID contractors poured concrete covers on top of a containment filled with 45,000 cubic metres of dioxin-contaminated soil at the Da Nang Airport Project back in August 2012.— Photo vnexpress

DA NANG (VNS)— USAID contractors poured concrete covers on top of a containment filled with 45,000 cubic metres of dioxin-contaminated soil at the Da Nang Airport Project back in August 2012.

A report was issued yesterday at the eighth annual meeting of the US-Viet Nam Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) on Agent Orange/Dioxin.

The meeting has been held annually since 2006 to provide scientific advice to the governments of Viet Nam and the US on dioxin contamination cleanup and research on health issues associated with dioxin.

"The event serves as a reminder of the level of co-operation and trust that exists between our two countries, and comes only months after President Truong Tan Sang and President Obama signed the US-Viet Nam Comprehensive Partnership at the White House," said the Ambassador to Viet Nam, David B. Shear, at the opening ceremony.

Forward thinking

"Both of our Presidents agreed that extensive co-operation in addressing war legacy issues has allowed us to develop a relationship that looks to the future. Today, we come together again to advance this forward-looking relationship and work toward our shared goal of overcoming the legacy of Agent Orange," he said.

"I'm proud of the tremendous achievements the JAC, our two governments, and the international community have made toward this goal. Over the past year, USAID launched a three-year, US$9 million heath and disabilities programme. Since 1989, the US has spent over $60 million to help Vietnamese with disabilities, regardless of the cause," noted Shear.

He added that the Americans and the Vietnamese remain focused on the best way to achieve mutual environmental and health goals.

"We are finalising plans to conduct an environmental assessment at Bien Hoa Airbase. This assessment will help determine the full extent of the dioxin contamination there, and assess scientifically proven methods to isolate and cleanup the dioxin," added Shear.

Also speaking at the meeting, Le Ke Son, director general of the Office of National Steering Committee 33, said JAC meetings shared information, dialogue, research and assessments on dioxin decontamination at Phu Cat Airbase in Binh Dinh, Da Nang and Bien Hoa, as well as support programmes for people with disabilities.

"However, we have many challenges ahead in solutions and technology on cleaning up dioxin. I hope that the remediation of the Bien Hoa Airbase project would apply thermal treatment technology, as it has been implemented at Da Nang airport," Son said.

At the meeting, the USAID and the Ministry of Defence highlighted progress with the Agent Orange/Dioxin cleanup project at the airport, considered to be a dioxin ‘hotspot' due to the high dioxin concentrations in surrounding soil and sediment.

The project is on schedule to clean all dioxin contamination at Da Nang airport by the end of 2016 and, consequently, eliminate risks of dioxin exposure to the surrounding community.

During the meeting, the Ministry of Defence presented its Master Plan for remediation of Bien Hoa Airbase, which is considered to be another dioxin ‘hotspot'. — VNS

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