Monday, June 9, 2008
Agent Orange...See What You Have Done
From 30 May to 3 June, a group of Mayflower Secondary School students including some of the ESS Army members went for the Vietnam Field Trip in which we were exposed to the economic and social changes of the country. Economically, Vietnam has been thriving due to the rapid development of the nation. Here, I am focusing more onto the social changes of the country which originated from environmental issue of Agent Orange.
Agent Orange is a powerful herbicide and defoliant that contains dioxin. It was used by the U.S. armed forces to defoliate jungles during the Vietnam War. If people are exposed to it, health problems like cancer and genetic damage are inevitable. In Vietnam, there were many who suffered from birth defects for the rest of their lives due to this toxic spray. Some children and young adults in Vietnam are now under the care of Agent Orange Centre. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to visit them as they did not want the victims to feel mortified and helpless.
However, we got the chance to visit a museum in which evidents of the impacts of Agent Orange could be found in photographs. Below are some pictures which, personally, pained my heart to see.
A picture of a woman and her four sons, all Agent Orange victims. A picture of a father carrying his son, an Agent Orange victim, to school every day. Hung, 23-years-old, was born to deformity from his parents who were soldiers during the war against American in South Vietnam. An Agent Orange victim street vendor. As Agent Orange was massively sprayed, the exposure to this herbicide not only affects the human beings living in the area but also the environment. Here is a quote from http://www.bhopal.net/oldsite/oldwebsite/agentorange.html:"The consequences of spraying these toxic chemicals continue to have devastating effects on the environment. Millions of litres of Agent Orange caused a great ecological imbalance, destroying timber, wild animals and forest products. Without forest cover to retain water, flooding in the rainy season and drought in the dry season has adversely affected agricultural production. Topsoil is easily washed away, further hindering forest recovery. While the uplands have been and continue to be eroded, the lowlands have become choked with sediment, further increasing the threat of flooding."
[tania] [2:01 PM]