Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hoà Bình (right) and US Senator Patrick Leahy launch the clean-up project. — VNA/VNS Photo Sỹ Tuyên
ĐỒNG NAI — An US-funded project on dioxin contamination remediation at Biên Hoà Airport in the southern province of Đồng Nai was launched on Saturday.
The launch ceremony was attended by Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hoà Bình, US Senator Patrick Leahy and other US senators.
According to the Việt Nam Air Defence-Air Force Service, USAID and other competent Vietnamese agencies completed their assessment of dioxin contamination in Biên Hoà, where the US troops kept most of the toxic chemicals used in the war in Việt Nam, providing the fact that around 500,000 cubic metres of contaminated soil there needed treatment.
Following the assessment, USAID signed an agreement on the implementation of the first five-year phase of a project to resolve dioxin contamination at Biên Hoa Airport with the Ministry of Defence of Việt Nam in early 2018. The agency committed funding of US$183 million for the project, which is scheduled to last 10 years using the remediation methods used at Đà Nẵng Airport.
Addressing the event, Permanent Deputy PM Trương Hoà Bình hailed the US side for actively working to support the development of the project, especially the personal support of Senator Patrick Leahy and other US senators.
Statistics show around 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin, over three million of whom are Agent Orange/dioxin victims, and the toxic chemical also had effects on the third generation, he said.
The Party and Government have defined that the settlement of post-war toxic chemical consequences is an urgent task to help protect the health and ensure environmental safety for people and spur sustainable socio-economic development.
He also noted the close coordination between relevant agencies of Việt Nam and the US in activities to survey, assess and resolve dioxin contamination, and implement projects on healthcare and functional rehabilitation for people with disabilities in the country.
These outcomes are initial but important to stepping up the comprehensive partnership between Việt Nam and the US.
Located about 30 kilometres from HCM City, Biên Hoà was a major base for the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine units during the war.
Dioxin, a highly toxic chemical contained in the defoliant, stays in the soil and at the bottom of lakes and rivers for generations.
The chemicals have been linked to cancer, birth defects and other chronic diseases, according to Việt Nam Red Cross. — VNS