US to clean up Agent Orange in Vietnam

The US has begun a landmark project to clean up a dangerous chemical left from the defoliant Agent Orange, 50 years after American planes first sprayed it on Vietnam's jungles to destroy enemy cover.

Dioxin, which has been linked to cancer, 150,000 birth defects and other disabilities, will be removed from the site of a former US air base in Danang in central Vietnam.

The plan is to excavate 73,000 cubic metres of soil for it to be cleansed. The US has given about $60m for environmental restoration and social services in Vietnam since 2007, but this is its first direct involvement in cleaning up dioxin.