I stayed up a bit too late the night before last watching a really interesting programme on TV. It was investigating the effects of Agent Orange, the chemical used by the U.S during the war in Vietnam. I had read an article on this before, but had no idea how current the effects still are. People are still being born today with severe birth defects because of this.
Communities in certain parts of Vietnam are still fishing in water that has a reading 1000 times higher than the danger level for Agent Orange.
Vast areas of vegetation were wiped out by Agent Orange during the war, so much so that the ecological balance can never return to normal. A certain aggressive type of grass has taken root on these areas of land, and prevents new seeds from taking root, and so reforestation is an impossibility.
It was a fascinating documentary, and I just wondered if anyone knew any other interesting facts about this.
I know the Viets are still trying to get a compensation package from the Americans because of this, but the Americans won't give anything. It is one of the stumbling blocks in the way of American/Viet trade/diplomatic relations. I noticed that lots of the jungle is fairly new, particularly around Saigon (no doubt in other parts of Vietnam that i haven't seen too) and obviously it takes hundreds, maybe thousands or years for an eco-system to establish itself. I've seen a documentary on this before and i remember in certain villages the level of birth defects was unbelievably high.
actually the east Laos was more demaged than Vietnam itself
Eve, when I went to Central Vietnam and did the DMZ tour, they took us to some hill tribe villages around the heavily bombed areas and we had the opportunity to see some of the effects of Agent Orange in some of those villages. A sad sight to see but definitely an eye opener...like Massageuk said, I am not surprised East Laos got it as well, the border from those areas was very very close.