New Delhi: In the climate change segment of the final US presidential debate Friday (IST), President Donald Trump once again said India’s air was “filthy”.
“Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia, look at India — it’s filthy. The air is filthy,” he said during the debate with his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I walked out of the Paris Accord as we had to take out trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly,” Trump said, responding to a question on climate change.
Trump had made a similar remark during the first debate on 29 September when he bracketed India with China and Russia and said these countries contribute to global pollution. “China sends up real dirt into the air. Russia does, India does — they all do,” he had said.
Trump’s latest statement was in response to debate moderator Kristen Welker’s question on how he would combat climate change and support job growth simultaneously. He made the statement while claiming that the US has the “lowest number in carbon emissions”.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden did not make any comments on India.
Trump’s views on climate change and India
Trump has made similar comments about India’s air quality even prior to the presidential debates.
During an interview to UK-based television network ITV in May, he had said: “China, India, Russia, many other nations, they have not very good air, not very good water, and the sense of pollution. If you go to certain cities…you can’t even breathe, and now that air is going up…They don’t do the responsibility.”
In 2018, he had defended his decision to back out of the Paris deal by arguing that it would have made the US pay for countries like India and China that were benefiting the most.
“Other countries, big countries — India and others — we had to pay, because they considered them a growing country. ‘They were a growing country. I said, What are we? Are we allowed to grow, too? Ok? No, Are we allowed to grow?’” he had said.
His new remark on India’s air quality during the final debate came after a study by US-based Health Effects Institute found air pollution to be the biggest health risk in India, and rising concerns about the possible negative impact of toxic air on Covid-19 patients with respiratory problems.
India has recorded over 7.7 million Covid-19 cases in total so far, which is below the US’ tally of 8.45 million. However, for the first time since 8 August, India is no longer the country reporting the most new cases in the world.