International exprience and technology workshop for Dioxin/POPS pollution assessment and remediation in Viet Nam

03 Dec 2013

image Photo: @ UNDP Viet Nam 2013

Da Nang – A two-day international technical workshop was held at Da Nang on 2nd and 3rd December for sharing knowledge and experience for POPs/dioxin pollution assessment and remediation.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a group chemical compound of special concern by their toxicity and persistence in environment. Dioxin is one of the POP chemicals controlled globally under Stockholm Convention.

Dioxin is associated with many environmental and health problems, including disabilities. Viet Nam faces greatest challenges of dioxin. 40 years has passed, dioxin remains in environment in and around contaminated hotspots. At least more than 240,000  cubic meters of contaminated soils and sediments remain in Bien Hoa needs to be treated. Levels of dioxin concentration is as high as 365,000 parts per trillion (ppt) of international toxicity equivalents (I-TEQ). Dioxin in Viet Nam is a by-product of the manufacturing of ’Agent Orange’ herbicide mixtures that were used during the war. This toxic substance lasts a long time in the air, water and land. Soil contaminated with dioxin often becomes sediment in lakes and rivers, which is then passed on to fish and other animals.

Researches, assessments and clean-up efforts on dioxin in Viet Nam over the past 40 years have generated rich information and experiences for sharing at this workshop. Vietnamese and international scientists and experts came together to this workshop to exchange knowledge, experiences and best practices for assessment and remediation of POPs/dioxin in Viet Nam.

The workshop discussed three specific areas. The first session introduced the assessment methodologies for dioxin and other contaminants. The second session updated the state of the technology development for POPs/dioxin remediation. And the third session provided an international comparison of regulatory framework on dioxin control and monitoring.

The workshop is part of a US$5 million UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and GEF (Global Environment Facility) project, launched in July 2010. The project focuses on supporting Viet Nam to minimize disruption to ecosystems and health risks for people from the release of dioxin from the contaminated hotspots. The Office of the National Steering Committee 33 (Office 33) in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for implementing the project in close collaboration with the Ministry of Defence, other ministries and provincial people’s Committees of Binh Dinh, Da Nang, and Dong Nai.

According to Director of Office 33 and national project director, Associate Prof Dr Le Ke Son: “With the relatively comprehensive approach to AO/dioxin issues in Vietnam, the “Environmental remediation in dioxin contaminated hotspots in Vietnam” Project has provided significant contribution both in terms of theoretical and practical supports. The Project has completed the dioxin treatment facility of a landfill in Phu Cat Airbase, remarkably contributed to the provision of interim measures in Bien Hoa Airbase, and developed the master plan for dioxin remediation for this airbase. The project has facilitated researches and selections as well as adoption of dioxin remediation technologies under Vietnam’s condition. The project’s activities, including training and communications activities, have obviously contributed to the capacity building of dioxin and other toxic chemical research and prevention for Vietnam.”

“Viet Nam needs affordable and effective technology for dioxin remediation to return safe environment to the local people, men, women and children. International and Vietnamese scientists and experts at this workshop will share experiences and discuss options to enhance capacity and technology development for dioxin assessment and treatment in Viet Nam,” said Mr. Bakhodir Burkhanov, UNDP Deputy Country Director. “due to delays of remediation, dioxin continues to be sources for contamination of the wider environment and poses a serious health risk to people, especially through food chains.”

The Government and UNDP will continue to promote the communications and exchange of information among national and international technical forum.

For further information, please contact:

Nguyen My Hang, Project Manager; email: nguyen.my.hang@gmail.com; phone: +84-4-37736354 or
Ms. Nguyen Viet Lan; email email: nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org; phone: +84-4-38224383 (121)