U.S. Begins Agent Orange Cleanup

First U.S. environmental restoration in Vietnam

A U.S. helicopter sprays Agent

A U.S. helicopter sprays Agent Orange over Vietnam     Photo: Jrtayloriv/Wikimedia Commons

For the first time, the United States has started to clean up Agent Orange used to defoliate forests during the Vietnam War. On Thursday, U.S. crews got to work on a 47-acre former military base, one of several "hot spots" marked for cleanup. The herbicide Agent Orange contains dioxin, a chemical linked to cancer, birth defects, and other disabilities. Over the course of the war, the U.S. sprayed 10,000 square miles of jungle—an area the size of Massachusetts—with defoliant. The base marked for cleanup includes lakes and wetlands where dioxin has seeped into the water and soil. Restoring the site is expected to cost $43 million and take four years. It marks the first direct involvement of the U.S. in cleaning up the chemical. "We are both moving earth and taking the first steps to bury the legacies of our past," U.S. Ambassador David Shear said. "I look forward to even more success to follow."

Via Washington Post

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