Vietnam airport world's most dioxin contaminated place

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The Bien Hoa military airport in the southern province of Dong Nai has the world's highest Agent Orange/dioxin contamination level, a meeting heard Thursday.

The office of the national steering committee tasked with handling the consequences of toxic chemical used by the US during the Vietnam War (Office 33) reported at the meeting that the airport has more than ten hectares of heavily polluted soil.

Dioxin has entered local water species and food chains, it said.

Le Ke Son, chief of the office, said it was necessary to issue urgent warnings, especially about food sources near the airport, as it is very likely that the dioxin contamination would have spread to surrounding areas.

According to Office 33, which organized the meeting to seek solutions for the airport's contamination, at least 94,000 square meters of tainted soil have been buried at the airport.

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Besides the Bien Hoa airport, the Phu Cat airport in the central province of Binh Dinh and the Da Nang airport in the central city of the same name are two other former military airbases that are dioxin hotspots in Vietnam.

The US Agency for International Development early this month announced a project of cleaning up dioxin contamination at the Da Nang airport. The project, expected to be completed this August, is estimated to cost US$43 million.

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