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The airport is one of major “hotspot” for dioxin contamination in Vietnam. During the Vietnam War, it was used by the US military to store and load barrels of herbicides containing Agent Orange/dioxin onto helicopters to spray over Vietnamese forests and land. More than three million innocent people were directly exposed to these toxic chemicals.
Addressing the launch ceremony, US Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear quoted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying during her visit to Vietnam in October 2011 that the dioxin in the ground here is “a legacy of the painful past we share”.
But, Shear said, the project both countries undertake today, is “a sign of the hopeful future we are building together.”
“We are both moving earth and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past. I look forward to even more successes to follow,” Shear stressed.
The project between Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is aimed at cleaning up dioxin contaminated soil and sediment at the airport left from the Vietnam War.
Under the project, workers will dig up the contaminated soil and sediment and place it in a stockpile, where it will be treated using thermal desorption technology which uses high temperatures to break down the dioxin in the contaminated soil and make it safe by Vietnamese and U.S. standards for people living and working in the area.