|A dioxin contaminated area in Biên Hòa Airbase. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has for the first time awarded a prime construction contract to a local Vietnamese contractor for its Dioxin Remediation at Biên Hoà Airbase Area project.
Though Vietnamese companies have been involved in USAID dioxin remediation work in both the Da Nang Airport remediation and Biên Hòa Airbase remediation projects until now they have been subcontractors of American firms.
Through this contract, several on and off-base areas with high levels of dioxin contamination will be environmentally remediated, including areas of high traffic posing greater exposure risks. The contractor will also construct a long-term storage facility for excavated soil, as well as an access road and fencing.
According to USAID, the decision is expected to build the capacity of a Vietnamese construction contractor to lead the implementation of state-of-the-art environmental remediation work.
In January, the Ministry of National Defence, US Mission to Việt Nam and Việt Nam’s Air Defence Air Force Command (ADAFC) celebrated initial dioxin remediation results in the Biên Hòa Airbase area, highlighting the US and Việt Nam’s commitment toward resolving war legacies.
Over the past year, 1,134 cubic metres of dioxin-contaminated sediment have been removed from a lake in a Biên Hòa City public park. In the coming weeks, after the restoration of grass and trees in the park, USAID and ADAFC will hand back the land to Biên Hòa City, the USAID said.
This result is the first milestone achieved through the US government’s US$300-million commitment to restoring the airbase and surrounding areas, which will take 10 years to complete. USAID and ADAFC also signed a land handover agreement on the removal of contaminated sediment over the next two years on the airbase.
The US government, through USAID and Vietnamese Government partners, including the National Action Center for Chemical and Environmental Treatment (NACCET), also launched a project to provide support for persons with disabilities in eight priority provinces.
USAID has committed $65 million towards this project over the next five years to ensure people with disabilities can fully participate in society while improving their overall quality of life.
Additionally, the US government, through USAID, signed a letter of intent with the Office of the Standing Board for the National Steering Committee on Overcoming the Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemical Consequences in Việt Nam to guide future collaboration on joint war legacy communications.
Data from the Việt Nam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (AO)/Dioxin (VAVA) shows that about 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to AO/Dioxin. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases due to the chemical’s effects. — VNS