Construction of a 5,400 cu.m. secure landfill site began at Phu Cat airbase in the central province of Binh Dinh on Dec. 16, in a project to isolate dioxin contamination at the airbase.

The landfill site is part of a 4.9 million USD project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the UNDP.
With the landfill, which is expected to be completed in 2012, Phu Cat airport will be fully compliant with national regulations and will meet international standards. Proper containment and regular monitoring will eliminate the current risks of dioxin outflow.

Phu Cat is one of three military airbases that are still highly contaminated by Agent Orange/dioxin, due to large quantities of herbicides stored or handled there during the war. The other two hotspots are Da Nang and Bien Hoa airports. The three airports were used by US troops for aerial spraying of defoliant during the war.

UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta described the ongoing presence of dioxin in Vietnam as a sad after-effect of war. About 200,000 cu.m. of contaminated land still exists at Phu Cat, Da Nang and Bien Hoa airports, posing serious health risks to people.

The GEF-funded project, begun in 2010, aims to minimise disruption to ecosystems and minimise health risks for people from the release of dioxin from polluted hotspots.

It is expected that areas contaminated with high dioxin levels will be treated before 2016./.