The US has obtained significant results in the dioxin cleanup at Bien Hoa Air Base, marking milestones in the US government US$300 million commitment to restore the air base and surrounding areas which will take 10 years to complete.
|The USAID and Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense sign an agremeent on dioxin cleanup. Photo: US Embassy in Hanoi
The dioxin remediation project at Bien Hoa Airbase, the largest remaining hotspot of dioxin contamination in Vietnam, began in December 2019, highlighting the US's commitment toward resolving war legacies in Vietnam.
On January 20, the US Mission to Vietnam, the Ministry of National Defence, and Dong Nai Province held a meeting to review the initial dioxin remediation results in the airbase.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink, US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Marie Damour, and the US Agency for International Development/Vietnam (USAID)’s Mission Director Ann Marie Yastishock.
|Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of National Defense. Photo: US Embassy in Hanoi
Over the past year, 1,134 cubic meters of dioxin contaminated sediment have been removed from a lake in a Bien Hoa City park.
In the coming weeks, after restoration of grass and trees in the park, USAID and the Ministry of National Defence’s Air Defense Air Force Command (ADAFC) will hand back the land to Bien Hoa City.
USAID and ADAFC also signed an additional land handover agreement which will focus on the removal of contaminated sediment over the next two years on the airbase.
|US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink. Photo: US Embassy in Hanoi
Years of efforts
The US Government, through USAID and Government of Vietnam partners, including the National Action Center for Toxic Chemicals and Environmental Treatment (NACCET), also launched a project to provide support for Agent Orange/dioxin victims in eight priority provinces.
USAID has committed US$65 million for this project over the next five years to improve the living standard of these victims.
Additionally, the US Government, through USAID, signed a letter of intent with the Standing Board for the National Steering Committee on Overcoming the Post-war Unexploded Ordnance (“UXO”) and Toxic Chemical Consequences in Vietnam to guide future cooperation and collaboration on joint war legacy communications.
Throughout 2020, USAID and Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence collaborated on collecting and analyzing additional site data on topography, baseline environmental conditions, and soil contamination to guide detailed excavation and treatment design work.
In November 2018, USAID completed the six-year $110 million project to clean up dioxin at Danang Airport.
In a web chat with VietNamNet, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink believes that efforts from both sides to solve war legacies could help build trust between the two former war adversaries.