US, Vietnam start new phase of dioxin cleanup project
Vietnam and the U.S. on Tuesday launched the second phase of a dioxin cleanup project in the central city of Da Nang, aiming to treat 45,000 cubic meters of soil contaminated with the toxic chemical.
The task is expected to complete by mid-2017, following the first phase which treated a similar amount of soil and was finished in May.
The cleanup at Da Nang Airport, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, has used thermal technology to heat the contaminated soil and sediment to a high temperature to destroy the dioxin.
The countries have worked together to mitigate the long-lasting effects of the Vietnam War. The U.S. military dumped some 75 million liters of Agent Orange and other herbicides over Vietnam’s jungles during the war to flush out Vietnamese forces and kill their crops.
The Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin reported that around 4.8 million Vietnamese were directly exposed to Agent Orange. Among them three million have suffered from disabilities and illness.
“I am encouraged by how this project continues to be a symbol of our honesty about the past, dealing with what remains and turning an issue of contention into one of collaboration," the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius said. "Both Vietnamese and Americans together enjoy great benefits from our growing friendship.”
Vietnam's Vice Minister of National Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh said that the project is a symbol of tireless efforts of Vietnamese and U.S. agencies to clean up the soil and ensure safety for local residents.