Vietnam Defense Leader Urges Speeding up Dioxin Treatment at Bien Hoa Airport

Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien, Deputy Defense Minister, asked relevant units and contractors to pro-actively overcome difficulties and speed up the progress of the dioxin clean-up at Bien Hoa Airport, Vietnam’s southern province of Dong Nai.

The defense leader leading a Ministry of National Defense delegation made the request during his visit to the airport to check the realization of the first stage of the dioxin detoxification project there.

It is reported that in the first stage of the project, up to date, nearly 71,000 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment have been excavated and classified. Some 9.7 hectares of land have been treated and dioxin-free. Nearly 28,000 cubic meters are waiting for thermal desorption treatment while nearly 43,000 cubic meters have been contained in a long-term storage facility.

As the project holder, the Air Defense - Air Force Service has teamed up with other relevant units to clear post-war bombs and mines on an area of 133.6 hectares. Functional agencies have monitored the air, surface and underground water every month and the sediment every six months. To date, air and water parameters are below the prescribed threshold, meaning it is good for the environment.

At the working session, Gen. Chien applauded agencies and units for their achievements over the past time. He requested they discuss with USAID to review and adjust the master plan, consolidate the project management unit, carry out bidding packages at a time, propose technological solutions in order to gear up the treatment process. He also reminded them to strictly observe technical regulations, ensuring safety for personnel and environment, boost inspection and monitoring, and effectively manage the investment capital.

As many as 486,990 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment on and around the Bien Hoa Air Base need to be treated. Dioxin remediation at Bien Hoa Air Base Area project is expected to last ten years and cost an estimated $450 million, including $183 million donated by the U.S. government and VND110 billion ($4.58 million) in counterpart funds from Vietnam.

Statistics show around 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin, over 3 million of whom are Agent Orange/dioxin victims, and the toxic chemical also left effect on the third generation.

(Phongkhongkhongquan, Qdnd)