US agrees to resolve Agent Orange contamination at Danang airport
  • By Thanh Tram | dtinews.vn | May 10, 2012 08:48 AM

The US will invest USD43 million in a project to deal with the environmental impact of Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin poisoning at Danang airport.


Danang Airport remains one of the major dioxin hotspots

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a preliminary method to deal with the environmental damage caused by the toxic chemical.

USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg said that the project would use In-Pile Thermal Desorption (IPTD) technology to clean up the residue waste.

IPTD is an advanced technology that has been used successfully in the US, EU and Asia to clean up dangerous waste he said.

He added that the USAID had awarded TerraTherm, Inc. a thermal remediation design contract for the cleanup of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment at the airport. The work is expected to be completed in August 2012.

The agency plans to kick off the project by the end of this summer.

A joint Vietnam-US working group estimated that it would cost around USD300 million to deal with AO/dioxin contamination in Vietnam over the next ten years.

In June 2010, USAID carried out an environmental impact assessment of the contamination at the airport before choosing a suitable clean-up technology.

A total of 72,900 cubic metres of soil in a 191,400-square-metre area will be dug up to resolve the severe contamination.

Danang Airport is one of the country’s major dioxin hotspots, having stored the toxic AO chemical during the American War. Ultimately, the cleanup will benefit the health of nearly 800,000 nearby residents and facilitate the implementation of airport expansion plans.

American military aircraft sprayed some 70 million litres of extra-strong herbicides, mostly a formulation known as Agent Orange, over the country between 1962 and 1971, dousing 1.7 million hectares, often several times over.

By the end of the war, a fifth of South Vietnam's forests had been chemically annihilated, and more than a third of its mangrove forests were dead. Some forests have since recovered, but much of the land has turned, apparently permanently, to scrubby grassland.

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