Liberia Says Firestone Polluting Water
13 May 09 | VOA News
Fifty kilometers east of the capital, Harbel has always been a company town. Named after Firestone founder Harvey Firestone and his wife Idabelle, Harbel has been the center of the world’s largest single natural rubber operation for more than 75 years.
In a country still recovering from years of civil war and desperate for more jobs, the eight million rubber trees at Harbel are crucial to Liberia’s economic future. The plantation was one of the first businesses to reopen after the fighting and employs more than 7,000 workers in a nation where 80 percent of people are unemployed.
Firestone workers receive paid vacation, subsidized food, and a retirement pension along with free housing, medical care, and education for their children.
But people living around the plantation say it is polluting their drinking water. John Powell is the town chief of the area known as Kpan Yah.
“We can’t drink it now. It is really polluted,” he said. >>>