The Vietnam-US Dialogue Group has announced the goal of basically solved the consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam by 2020 at the seventh meeting of the Vietnam-US Joint Advisory Council (JAC) in Hanoi on September 20.

The next five years will be a key period for activities towards this goal, starting with the treatment of dioxin contaminated soil at Da Nang Airport in 2012. In addition, the US Agency for International Development will provide more support for dioxin victims.

Towards this goal, the national steering committee on overcoming consequences of toxic chemicals/dioxin used by the US during the war in Vietnam has drafted a plan of action to be submitted to the Government for approval. The plan focuses on detoxification treatment of hotspots, prevention of exposure to dioxin, provision of support for locals living near hotspots, and better services for AO/dioxin victims, and further research in the field.

The two-day JAC meeting will review the handling of environment in hotspots, humanitarian activities and dioxin treatment technologies.

The Vietnam-US Dialogue Group brings together both Vietnamese and US individuals, scientists and policymakers, with a view to mobilising resources to deal with the consequences of AO/dioxin in Vietnam .

By the end of last year, the group raised 91 million USD for the cleanup of dioxin in hotspots like Da Nang , Bien Hoa and Phu Cat. Of the sum, one third went to health care programmes in eight provinces nationwide, benefiting 20,000 people with disabilities.

The group’s activities have helped bring about positive changes. On December 22, 2011, US President Obama signed an Act on Budget Allocation for 2012, under which, 15 million USD was given to tackling dioxin hotspots in Da Nang airport and 5 million USD went to a health care programme targeting dioxin-contaminated areas.

Last year, the Vietnamese Government also pledged to invest 28 billion VND (1.3 million USD) in caring for AO/dioxin-infected victims in Friendship Village .

So far, the biological dioxin treatment technology has been applied successfully in Da Nang airport. It is expected to be used in other areas on a large-scale in the coming time.-VNA