Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/10/2013 -- A BBC News report this month featured Da Nang and the effects that the United States’ use of Agent Orange in the war fifty years ago is having. During the war many tonnes of the lethal dioxin were used to clear jungle, which was providing cover for the North Vietnamese troops. At the old site of Da Nang airport tonnes of the chemical was stored. This caused massive leakage and the whole site is contaminated. The US government are currently on the ground in Vietnam hoping to deal with the problem.
Da Nang has seen massive growth and development in recent years. This strategic port is one of the country’s leading tourist destinations and not without good reason. The city has a rich history and is where the French Colonists first landed. It’s broad tree lined boulevards are picturesque and a pleasant place to be. Running along the riverside they are full of quaint cafés and bars. The government has pumped huge amounts of money into developing Da Nang and it is their plan to turn it into the most desirable place to live in the country.
This won’t happen though until the fear of contamination is quelled. Thousands of children born in the years after the war suffered terrible birth deformities. Their plight continues to be the cause of much anger in the area. A combination of rumour and counter-rumour left the public at the time in an uninformed position. The poor people had to drink from a well near the airport and the water was heavily contaminated. Now at last something tangible is being done.
In a new scheme thousands of tonnes of contaminated soil is loaded onto trucks and placed in Gigantic storage holders. It is then heated to 300ºC. This destroys all trace of the dioxin and leaves the soil in its original state. It is then put back where it was, clean and safe. The US has always denied legal responsibility but have always continued to show some responsibility and have aided wherever possible. This current scheme is to cost some $84 million and is scheduled for completion by 2016.
It is considered too little too late by many of those directly affected. However it has to be said that thankfully, future generations will be free from concern over this problem that has lingered on for half a century. This is a big commitment from the united States and surely is good news for the people of Da Nang and the whole of the country.
As Da Nang continues to be cleaned up and the governments building plans continue apace, the tourism industry sees this as yet another big boost for the country. The whole of the Central Coastal Region of Vietnam, is seeing increasing tourist numbers. Mr Tran Truong, CEO of travel giants, Asia Tour Advisor said, “ The clean up in the area of Da Nang and beyond is finally a reality. The area visited by tourists is safe, but the stigma has always lingered. This has been to Vietnam what the unexploded bombs and mines have been to Cambodia. Finally the time is in sight when we will be able to say to people, there is no contamination in Da Nang.”
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