The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over nearly three hectares of land in Vietnam’s southern Dong Nai Province following nearly four years of dioxin remediation.
During a ceremony on Tuesday, the USAID announced the completion of the first phase of the cleanup project at Bien Hoa Airbase, located in the namesake city in Dong Nai Province.
The Bien Hoa Airbase cleanup project was launched in April 2019 and expected to take 10 years to complete.
About three hectares of the airbase was completely remediated after the first phase.
The treated area has been planted with grass to prevent surface erosion before being handed over to the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense.
The ministry is expected to plant green trees and build a park there in the future.
|Deputy Minister of National Defense Hoang Xuan Chien speaks at the ceremony in Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, Vietnam, March 7, 2023. Photo: A Loc / Tuoi Tre
In addition, the USAID also announced a new contract to increase the total investment capital of the second phase up to $300 million.
This new funding demonstrates the United States' commitment to Vietnam, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the two countries’ comprehensive partnership.
As per the new contract, Nelson Environmental Remediation has been selected to design and build a treatment facility to decontaminate soil and sediment on and around the airbase.
The completion of the first phase of the Bien Hoa Airbase cleanup project is the result of close and effective cooperation between the USAID and Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense, said Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien, Deputy Minister of National Defense.
|A park will be built on the treated land. Photo: A Loc / Tuoi Tre
Vietnam still has about 4.8 million people who have been exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin and more than six million hectares of land is still contaminated with mines and explosives, Chien said, hoping for more support from the U.S., USAID, as well as other countries and international organizations.
“Our example of reconciliation will forever serve as a profound lesson to the rest of the world of what can be achieved when we move forward as trusted friends instead of foes,” said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper.
“Let us redouble our efforts in ensuring that our bilateral partnership grows stronger and more resilient for the next 27 years and beyond.”