VietNamNet Bridge – There are still 240,000 cubic meters of soil and sludge contaminated with dioxin in Dong Nai Province’s Bien Hoa Airport area not buried, posing high risks to people’s health and the environment, said an environment official.
At the Bien Hoa Airport. -- File photo
Speaking at a recent seminar on agent orange and dioxin held in Hanoi, Le Ke Son, deputy director of the Vietnam Environment Administration, said that consequences were very serious, but remedial measures have yet to be studied carefully.
Even the number of people inflicted by dioxin in Vietnam has not been established, Son said.
According to previously announced statistics, Vietnam has an estimated 4.8 million people with dioxin contamination.
Between 1961 and 1971, with the defoliation campaign Ranch Hand, the U.S. army sprayed over 800 million liters of herbicides in southern Vietnam. After over 40 years, the dioxin concentration in some areas has declined, but the consequences are still grave.
Vietnam has three dioxin hotspots, which are Phu Cat, Danang and Bien Hoa airbases. With supports from the U.S. government and the United Nations Development Program, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is working hard on removing dioxin at Danang and Bien Hoa airbases.
Danang airbase still has around 73,000 cubic meters of dioxin-infected soil left and being treated by heat. The contamination removal is scheduled for completion in 2016.
Last August, 7,500 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil at Phu Cat airbase in Binh Dinh Province has been treated by burying.
Meanwhile, only 94,000 cubic meters of soil contaminated with agent orange and dioxin at Bien Hoa airbase has been buried while 240,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil at a depth of over two meters is still there.
The administration targets to treat the amount of contaminated soil and sludge at Bien Hoa airbase by 2020.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the U.S. government has funded around US$60 million for programs of fixing dioxin consequences in Vietnam, with US$53 million for dioxin removal at Danang airbase and nearly US$7 million for medical assistance.