The groundbreaking ceremony of the first phase of dioxin
remediation at Bien Hoa Airbase Project. Photo: VGP
The Bien Hoa Airbase, the primary Agent Orange
storage and handling site, is the largest remaining hotspot of dioxin
contamination in Viet Nam.
In 2016, USAID, in partnership with the Government
of Viet Nam, completed an assessment of dioxin contamination at the airbase.
The assessment identified almost 500,000 cubic meters of dioxin contaminated
soil and sediment in need of remediation – almost four times the volume that
was remediated at Da Nang Airport.
In addition, more than 3.6 million hectares of
forest was destroyed, 4.8 million have been exposed to Agent Orange/Dioxin,
while more than 3 million victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin have been suffering
from grave diseases.
In 2018, the US Agency for International Development
(USAID) signed an agreement with Air Defense-Air Force Command (ADAFC) for a
US$183 million USAID contribution for the first initial five years of
remediation work at the Bien Hoa Air Base area and the project was
officially approved and launched in April 2019. USAID estimates overall
remediation efforts will be completed over a ten-year period.
In the first phase between 2019 and 2025, the
Ministry of National Defense will remediate 150,000 cubic meters of dioxin
contaminated soil, sediment and water.
Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the
project, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said wartime toxic chemicals
still have affected people’s health and the environment despite the war
ended more than four decades ago.
Binh said overcoming the consequences of toxin
chemicals remains a pressing issue in a bid to ensure the core factors for
national development and prosperity.
The launch of the first phase of dioxin remediation
at the Bien Hoa Airbase Area reflects strong commitments of both Viet Nam
and the US in addressing the war legacy in Viet Nam, Binh said.
He took the occasion to extends thanks to the
American Congress, Administration and people, the Governments of Japan, the
Republic of Korea, Belgium among others for their support and assistance for
Viet Nam to overcome war consequences over the last years.
Last year, Viet Nam completed the six-year, US$110
million Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contamination at Da Nang Airport
Project, jointly implemented by the United States Agency for International
Development (USAID) and the Ministry of National Defense.
The Da Nang project involved in treatment of over
90,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil and sediment through thermal
desorption and safely contained an additional 50,000 cubic meters of low
concentration, dioxin-contaminated material./.