Vietnam Time

9/17/2017 10:09:47 PM

Infrastructure built to tackle dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa airport

(VNF) - The Ministry of Defence on September 16 launched the construction of infrastructure to tackle dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa Airport in Bien Hoa city, the southern province of Dong Nai.

The project has total investment of VND 270 billion (US$ 11.8 million) from the State budget.

Key tasks include disarming war-time mines and bombs, building roads, zoning off dioxin contaminated areas and removing organisations and military works from the new detected squalid regions.

The project marks the continued efforts in the strong partnership between the Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), following the Danang Airport detoxification project.

Khoi cong du an 270 ty xu ly dioxin o san bay Bien Hoa hinh anh 1

According to assessments from Vietnam and the US, some 500,000 cubic metres of dioxin contaminated land in the airport need to be treated, requiring a large amount of capital and technology. (source: Zing News)

Speaking at the launching, Deputy Minister of Defence Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh said that the project displays the Vietnamese Government’s efforts in tackling post-war bombs and mines as well as toxic chemicals in affected locations.
“Dioxin has major health impact on soldiers and people in Bien Hoa airport area. This project makes sure that pollution source will not harm community health" he said.

The move is a technical infrastructure preparation for a dioxin treatment project worth US$500 million in non-refundable official developmental assistance from the US and other partners. Construction of the dioxin treatment project will begin later this year, he added.

Bien Hoa Airport is considered one of the dioxin hot spots in the country due to its high level of the chemical.

According to assessments from Vietnam and the US, some 500,000 cubic metres of dioxin contaminated land in Bien Hoa airport need to be treated.

Since 2013, USAID has conducted an environmental assessment of dioxin contamination on and around Bien Hoa Airbase, where the largest amount of Agent Orange was stored and handled during the Vietnam War.

The research focused on addressing significant potential adverse health-related, environmental, and social issues along with the implementation of remediation activities of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment, in alignment with the Government of Vietnam’s standards and enhancing beneficial use of the airbase.

Throughout the assessment process, USAID also conducted a four-part training series aimed at increasing the knowledge base and remediation skillset for 30 Vietnamese dioxin experts, largely within Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, using Bien Hoa as a case study.

Over 1,400 environmental samples have so far been collected as part of the environmental assessment.

In addition, all remediation technologies and alternatives were developed in close collaboration with Vietnam's Academy of Military Science and Technology and other technical agencies within MND.

Dioxin contaminated areas at Bien Hoa Airport in Bien Hoa city, Dong Nai province. (source: VNA)

In May 2016, former President Barack Obama announced a U.S. commitment to partner with Vietnam to make a significant contribution to cleaning up dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa, and the two governments have worked on the detailed technical recommendations in the report and developing a plan to proceed.

Earlier in January, nearly six hectare of clean land have been handed over to the Aviation Airport Corporation of Vietnam to build new taxiways, a runway and plane parking areas at the Da Nang International Airport. 

The handover was held after the first phase of remediation, after 150,000 cubic metres of sludge and dioxin-contaminated soil was excavated, and 45,000 cubic metres was put through thermal treatment.

Dioxin, a highly toxic chemical in the defoliant, stays in the soil and at the bottom of lakes and rivers for generations. It can enter the food supply through the meat of fish and other animals, and has been found at alarmingly high levels in breast milk.

In Vietnam, during the period of 1961-1971, American army sprayed more than 80 million liters of toxic chemical substances, most of which were Agent Orange which contained about 400 kilograms of dioxin.

This weapon of mass destruction has caused great suffering to countless families and seriously devastated the natural environment and people of Vietnam.

Between 2.1 to 4.8 million Vietnamese citizens were directly exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals that have been linked to cancers, birth defects and other chronic diseases during the Vietnam War that ended in April 1975, according to the Vietnam Red Cross.

They reside mainly along the Trail of Truong Son and in areas bordering Cambodia. Tens of thousands of them have died. Millions of others and their offspring suffer from diseases and live in poverty due to Agent Orange’s effect.

Not until now has the public known about the destructive effect on human health of Agent Orange used during wartime. In 2000, the National Academy of Sciences of America (NAS) issued a list of Diseases caused by Agent Orange. Many of these have been found in Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.

Diseases caused by exposure to Agent Orange include soft-tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Hodgkin, Cloracne, while partly contacts with Agent Orange can result in cancers of the respiratory system (lung, brochial tube, trachea and larynx), prostate cancer, diabetes, two kinds of congenital malformations found in newborns of war veterans, Spina Bifida, Acute myelogenous leukemia, to name a few./.

  ( VNF )
[ Back ]

Send comment