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Ground depression in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City taking place at an alarming rate

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Unhealthy sleeping patterns can lead to major health problems like obesity, heart disease and others in adulthood, Wikimedia

Hanoi, April 18, 2017: Ground depression in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is taking place at an alarming rate, a research report said on Tuesday.

Many areas in the eight districts of the city, were sinking by five to 10 mm a year, Xinhua news agency quoted research results announced by the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology as reporting.

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After comparing statistics over 25 years, the city has so far sunken by some 0.4 metres, said Associate Professor Le Van Trung at the university.

If attention was not paid to the depression issue, the sinking areas would face drastic depression, and some areas might even be submerged in seawater, he warned.

Key reasons for the ground depression in Ho Chi Minh City include over-exploitation of underground water, rapid urbanization and effervescent transport activities.

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In low-lying zones, depression plus sea level rise (by an average of three mm a year due to climate change) will expand the existing inundated areas and create new ones.

In coastal areas, the over-exploitation of underground water causes saltwater intrusion which negatively affects growth of plants and trees in particular and sustainable agricultural development in general.

Parts of the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam were also sinking, according to the Environment Ministry. (IANS)

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USAID Launches $183mn Cleanup at Vietnam Storage Site for Agent Orange

The spillover from the clearing operation is believed to have seeped beyond the base and into groundwater and rivers, and is linked to severe mental and physical disabilities across generations of Vietnamese

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agent orange
FILE - A Vietnamese soldier stands guard at the dioxin-contaminated area at Bien Hoa airbase, where the U.S. Army stored the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, in Bien Hoa city, outside Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, October 17, 2018. VOA

The U.S. launched on Saturday a $183 million cleanup at a former Vietnam storage site for Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant used in the nations’ bitter war, which years later is still blamed for severe birth defects, cancers and disabilities.

Located outside Ho Chi Minh City, Bien Hoa air base — the latest site scheduled for rehabilitation after Danang air base’s cleanup last year — was one of the main storage grounds for Agent Orange and was only hastily cleared by soldiers near the war’s end more than four decades ago.

U.S. forces sprayed 80 million liters (21 million gallons) of Agent Orange over South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971 in a desperate bid to flush out Viet Cong communist guerrillas by depriving them of tree cover and food.

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US Arm APC spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam. Wikimedia

The spillover from the clearing operation is believed to have seeped beyond the base and into groundwater and rivers, and is linked to severe mental and physical disabilities across generations of Vietnamese — from enlarged heads to deformed limbs.

Largest ‘hot spot’ left

At Bien Hoa, more than 500,000 cubic meters of dioxin had contaminated the soil and sediment, making it the “largest remaining hot spot” in Vietnam, said a statement from the U.S. Agency for International Development, which kicked off a 10-year remediation effort Saturday.

The dioxin amounts in Bien Hoa are four times more than the volume cleaned up at Danang airport, a six-year, $110 million effort that was completed in November.

“The fact that two former foes are now partnering on such a complex task is nothing short of historic,” said the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, Daniel Kritenbrink, at Saturday morning’s launch, which was attended by Vietnamese military officials and U.S. senators.

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USAID Launches Latest Cleanup of Agent Orange Site. Wikimedia

Hanoi says up to 3 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, and that 1 million suffer grave health repercussions today — including at least 150,000 children with birth defects.

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An attempt by Vietnamese victims to obtain compensation from the United States has met with little success. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 declined to take up the case, while neither the U.S. government nor the manufacturers of the chemical have ever admitted liability.

While U.S. officials have never admitted direct links between Agent Orange and birth defects, USAID on Saturday also issued a “memorandum of intent” to work with government agencies to improve the lives of people with disabilities in seven Vietnamese provinces. (VOA)