Defending his government’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, US President Donald Trump stirred a hornet’s nest by calling India, China and Russia as filthy nations. Participating in the second presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden he said that the air in India is ‘filthy’ and at the same time took jibes at Russia and China for not maintaining environmental standards. President Trump’s reference to India has dismayed a lot of Indian-American voters who were expected to vote for the Republican Party. Yet there are some who feel that the quality of air in India is indeed among the poorest in the world and that the country should do something in this direction.
According to a study report released earlier this week, it was found that India has the highest exposure to PM 2.5 in the world, followed by Nepal, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It needs to be mentioned that PM 2.5 is an air pollutant that is a concern for people’s health. It was also found that the country has one of the highest exposures to ozone in the world.
President Trump was responding to a question on how the two candidates proposed to fight climate change while at the same time supporting job growth. He justified his stand on Paris Agreement by stating that while the US was to spend trillions of dollars, in return it was not fairly treated.
Incidentally the statement came a few days before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper are to visit India to further the growing India-US bilateral strategic partnership.
In the first Presidential debate too President Trump had criticized India and questioned its Corona Virus death toll.