US ícleans upí Agent Orange after 50 years, courts Viet Nam in Push to Counter China
2012-08-09 0:00

By Mike Ives | TheStar.com

The United States began a landmark project Thursday to clean up a dangerous chemical left from the defoliant Agent Orange ó 50 years after American planes first sprayed it on Vietnamís jungles to destroy enemy cover.

Dioxin, which has been linked to cancer, birth defects and other disabilities, will be removed from the site of a former U.S. air base in Danang in central Vietnam. The effort is seen as a long-overdue step toward removing a thorn in relations between the former foes nearly four decades after the Vietnam War ended.



In this photo taken Aug. 7, 2012, Vo Thi Thuy Nga, 24, left, and her uncle Vo Duoc sit inside their home in Danang, Vietnam. She was born with physical and mental disabilities that a rehabilitation centerís director said were caused by their parentsí exposure to the chemical dioxin in the defoliant Agent Orange.


"We are both moving earth and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past," U.S. Ambassador David Shear said during the groundbreaking ceremony near where a rusty barbed wire fence marks the siteís boundary. "I look forward to even more success to follow."

The $43 million joint project with Vietnam is expected to be completed in four years on the 19-hectare (47-acre) contaminated site, now an active Vietnamese military base near Danangís commercial airport.

Washington has been quibbling for years over the need for more scientific research to show that the herbicide caused health problems among Vietnamese. It has given about $60 million for environmental restoration and social services in Vietnam since 2007, but this is its first direct involvement in cleaning up dioxin, which has seeped into Vietnamís soil and watersheds for generations.

Shear added the U.S. is planning to evaluate whatís needed for remediation at the former Bien Hoa air base in southern Vietnam, another Agent Orange hotspot.

The work begins as Vietnam and the U.S. forge closer ties to boost trade and counter Chinaís rising influence in the disputed South China Sea thatís believed rich in oil and natural resources. The U.S. says protecting peace and freedom of navigation in the sea is in its national interest.

The Danang site is closed to the public. Part of it consists of a dry field where U.S. troops once stored and mixed the defoliant before it was loaded onto planes. The area is ringed by tall grass, and a faint chemical scent could be smelled Thursday.

The contaminated area also includes lakes and wetlands dotted with pink lotus flowers where dioxin has seeped into soil and sediment over decades. A high concrete wall separates it from nearby communities and serves as a barrier to fishing there.

The U.S. military dumped some 20 million gallons (75 million liters) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971, decimating about 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of forest ó roughly the size of Massachusetts.

The war ended on April 30, 1975, when northern Communist forces seized control of Saigon, the U.S.-backed capital of former South Vietnam. Some 58,000 Americans died, along with an estimated 3 million Vietnamese. The country was then reunified under a one-party Communist government. Following years of poverty and isolation, Vietnam shook hands with the U.S. in 1995 and normalized diplomatic relations.

The Agent Orange issue has continued to blight the U.S.-Vietnam relationship because dioxin can linger in the environment for decades, entering the food supply through the fat of fish and other animals.

[...]


Read the full article at: thestar.com




Related Articles
Agent Orange used on Ontario highways
Agent Orange used in Northern Ontario
Agent Orange Continues to Poison Vietnam
Agent Orange in the City of New Orleans
Jesse Ventura Schools "The View" on JFK, Viet Nam, 9/11, and WTC7 (Video)
Maya Lin and the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial
40 years after explosive leak of Pentagon Papers, secret Vietnam war study coming out in whole
10,000 cattle in Vietnam mysteriously die from cold weather
Vietnam Saigon Evacuation (Video)
John Kerry Testimony: On Ending the War - Vietnam War Hearing (Video)
McNamara dies, career haunted by Vietnam war


Latest News from our Front Page

Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female
2015-04-25 4:52
Shieldmaidens are not a myth! A recent archaeological discovery has shattered the stereotype of exclusively male Viking warriors sailing out to war while their long-suffering wives wait at home with baby Vikings. (We knew it! We always knew it.) Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole ‚Äúrape and pillage‚ÄĚ thing, too. Researchers at the University of Western Australia decided ...
Off Your Knees, Germany! Ernst Zundel 1983 - 2003
2015-04-25 1:15
For more information on the holocaust, how the war was forced upon Germany, and the REAL victims of the second world war see: http://gblt.webs.com/Real_Holocaust.htm http://web.archive.org/web/20130806074314/http://www.666blacksun.org/ http://www.zundelsite.org/
IRS Drops Attack For Six Years ‚Äď No Evidence of Jurisdiction
2015-04-24 20:29
A big congrats to a friend I‚Äôve been working with for several years, he stood up to the predators commonly called the ‚ÄúIRS‚ÄĚ and they dropped their attack. Thanks also for providing me with the proof below. The criminals called the ‚ÄúIRS‚ÄĚ initiated an attack claiming my friend was required to file six tax returns, or explain how he made ...
Into Eternity - Finland's 100,000 Year Massive Underground Spent Nuclear Fuel Program
2015-04-24 20:49
Into Eternity is a documentary about a deep geological repository for nuclear waste. The concept of long-term underground storage for radioactive waste has been explored since the 1950s. The inner part of the Russian doll-like storage canisters is to be composed of copper. Hence in the case of Onkalo it is tightly linked to experiments on copper corrosion in running ...
SPLC Accuses Oath Keepers of Inciting ‚ÄúArmed Confrontation‚ÄĚ Over Sugar Pine Mine
2015-04-24 20:22
The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused Oath Keepers of inciting an armed confrontation with BLM authorities over the Sugar Pine Mine dispute in Oregon, despite the fact that the organization has explicitly stated that it is not promoting armed confrontation with the feds. In an article provocatively posted on the organization‚Äôs ‚ÄėHatewatch‚Äô section entitled Oath Keepers Descend Upon Oregon with ...
More News »