Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Report: US should pay for cleaning up Agent Orange in Vietnam
A private bi-national group that consists of citizens, policy makers and scientists came up with a ten-year, $300 million clean-up plan for 14 of Vietnam 's Agent Orange hot spots.
The Aspen Institute announced the adoption of the plan Wednesday in a press release, and now the blue-ribbon group, as the private group calls itself, is lobbying the United States government to act on the plan.
IPS reported that panel co-chair Walter Isaacson said "We are talking about something that is a major legacy of the Vietnam War and a major irritant in this important relationship. The cleanup of our mess from the Vietnam War will be far less costly than the Gulf oil spill that BP will have to clean up." While it is spelled out in the plan that the United States should foot most of the $300 million in clean-up costs, the panel is pushing for collaboration between "other governments, foundations, businesses, and nonprofits."
During the Vietnam war, the US sprayed 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides containing dioxin said the Institute. It is believed that three to five million Vietnamese people were directly and indirectly exposed to Agent Orange both during and after the war and another 2.8 million US military personnel were exposed during the war. Vietnam and the United States have only resumed diplomatic relations 15 years ago. The war has been over for 35 years.
The Aspen Institute said it was time to set aside arguments over who is responsible for Vietnam 's Agent Orange problem saying "Questions of responsibility, awareness and data reliability have for too long generated bitter controversy and stalled remedial action."
What is the Aspen Institute? http://www.aspeninstitute.org/about