Remarks at the International Workshop on “Dioxin/POPs Pollution Assessment and Remediation in Viet Nam

02 Dec 2013

Speaker: Dao Xuan Lai, Assistant Country Director and Head of Sustainable Development Cluster
Date:   2 December 2013
Event:   International Workshop on “Dioxin/POPs Pollution Assessment and Remediation in Viet Nam
Venue:  Pullman Hotel, Da Nang
    
Dr. Le Ke Son, Deputy Director General of the Viet Nam Environment Administration, and Head of Office 33
Representatives from ministries and provinces
Distinguished scientists, resources persons and participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me join Dr. Son in warmly welcoming all of you to this workshop on “Dioxin/POPs Pollution Assessment and Remediation” in this beautiful city of Da Nang, with spectacular beaches.

This event is very important for Vietnamese experts to obtain international state-of-the-arts knowledge and experiences for their continuing efforts to address a daunting environmental problem of Dioxin.

The event is also a good opportunity for international participants to learn about the uniqueness of the dioxin issue in Viet Nam – the magnitude, severity, and complexity. More than 240,000 cubic meters of contaminated soils and sediments remain in Bien Hoa, one of the three dioxin hotspots. Levels of dioxin concentration is as high as 365,000 parts per trillion (ppt) of international toxicity equivalents (I-TEQ).

The government of Viet Nam has made significant efforts on research, environmental remediation, and financial and healthcare support to the affected people.

UNDP has been working closely with the Government to address challenges of various persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including obsolete pesticides and dioxin. After the Stockholm Convention came into effect in 2004, from 2006 UNDP pioneered in providing technical support for environmental remediation of dioxin, when there was limited external support. We are very pleased to see increasing support from other development partners on this important issue.

To date, more than 7,500 cubic meters in Phu Cat and 94,000 cubic meters of dioxin contaminated soil ad sediments in Bien Hoa have been safely contained in landfills. The on-going deployment of a thermal desorption treatment technology here in Da Nang is expected to treat 90,000 cubic meters of contaminated soils and sediments by 2016.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is encouraging to witness these achievements, however much more need to be done and greater efforts are required. Viet Nam needs adequate human capacity, affordable technology, and finance to overcome the consequences of the dioxin.

Under the on-going GEF-funded project, UNDP and the MONRE have enabled various capacity building actions through dioxin analysis, knowledge exchange, training and policy development. Standards and thresholds for dioxin treatment being prepared will help Viet Nam to better regulate and control the issue. Specialised knowledge is also essential for technology appraisal, deployment, management, and monitoring and evaluation of dioxin treatment processes.

On site technology testing and evaluation in Viet Nam have been contributing to advancement of technology development nationally and internationally. Today, you will be presented with some important achievements.

Technology development for environmental treatment of dioxin is not fast enough in comparison with that in other subjects. We do hope that this workshop will help accelerate the pace of technology development for dioxin remediation. UNDP is happy to facilitate collaboration and experience sharing amongst the Government agencies, development partners, and international institutions. As part of this workshop agenda, participants will have an opportunity to visit one of the largest dioxin remediation activities in the world, being deploy by US Agency for International Development here in Da Nang.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is important to return the clean and safe environment for the local people. The past 40 years is already too long, it is time to double our joint efforts and actions. With continued Government leadership, and by working together, we will be able to deal with the challenges of Agent Orange in Viet Nam, eliminating the risks and build safe environment for everyone.

As the UNDP in Viet Nam, we will keep working with the Government of Viet Nam and development partners to do our utmost to find options and affordable technology to achieve total dioxin destruction. Your active participation in this workshop and continued collaboration will certainly help Viet Nam to make this objective a reality.

I would like to thank for your contribution and let me end by wishing the participants, both resources persons and audiences a fruitful discussion in sharing lessons and making opportunities for further collaboration.

Thank you very much.