Major General Bùi Anh Chung (right), Deputy Commander of the Air Defence-Air Force Command and Bonnie Glick (left), Deputy Administrator of USAID, sign the land handover to initiate dioxin remediation at Biên Hòa airbase. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
HÀ NỘI — An area measuring 37ha at Biên Hòa airbase was handed over to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a dioxin clean-up project at Biên Hòa Airport in Đồng Nai Province, the most contaminated spot in the country.
USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick, US Ambassador to Việt Nam Daniel J. Kritenbrink, Vice Minister of National Defence Senior Lieutenant General Nguyễn Chí Vịnh, and USAID-Việt Nam Mission Director Michael Greene attended the handover ceremony at the Việt Nam Ministry of National Defence’s headquarters in Hà Nội on Friday morning.
USAID and Air Defence-Air Force Command’s (ADAFC) initial work will remediate dioxin in an area known as “Pacer Ivy” using treatment and isolation methods similar to those successfully used at Đà Nẵng Airport.
The clean-up is expected to take at least 10 years and cost US$390 million.
At the handover ceremony, Lieutenant General Vịnh thanked the US for its close cooperation with the Ministry of Defence in its activities to overcome the consequences of war in Việt Nam.
He also proposed USAID continue to co-ordinate with Vietnamese agencies to effectively implement post-war remedial projects, particularly identifying and selecting specific technology to treat dioxin-contaminated soil at Biên Hòa Airport.
The two sides need to have measures to control safety and minimise the impact of dioxin to people during the implementation of the project, he said.
At the ceremony, deputy administrator Glick highlighted the importance of US-Việt Nam efforts at Biên Hòa to deepen the comprehensive partnership by addressing legacies of war.
She said the United States and Việt Nam will continue to co-operate on the humanitarian mission of accounting for personnel still missing from the war and resolve wartime legacy issues including the removal of unexploded ordnance, support for persons with disabilities, and the remediation of dioxin.
At the meeting, the two sides exchanged and assessed the co-operation activities to overcome the consequences of war and discussed directions for the future.
In 2016, USAID, in partnership with the Government of Việt Nam, completed an assessment of dioxin contamination at the airbase.
The assessment identified almost 500,000 cubic metres of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment in need of remediation – almost four times the volume that was remediated at Đà Nẵng Airport.
Last year, USAID signed an agreement with ADAFC for a $183 million USAID contribution for the first initial five years of remediation work at the Biên Hòa Air Base area and the project was officially approved and launched in April 2019. — VNS