United States President Donald Trump called China, India and Russia “filthy” when speaking during the climate change segment during the Presidential debate on October 22.
“We have so many different programmes, we have clean air. Look at China. How filthy it is. Look at Russia, look at India. It is filthy. We have done a good job environmentally, and have the cleanest air,” Trump said, talking about the air quality.
The remark may upset some within the electorally significant Indian-American community, most of whom polls showed already favour Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
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Trump’s comment on the poor air quality in India comes at a time when experts have warned of continued rise in pollution, especially the northern areas of the country. Over the years, stubble burning has been identified as one of the key factors for air pollution in the national capital and its surrounding areas leading the air quality to drop to dangerous levels in October-November.
New Delhi's air quality has remained in the 'poor' category over the last week in October due to stubble burning in neighbouring states. As per Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) data, Air Quality Index (AQI) is at 442 in Alipur, in 'severe' category.
Despite stern warnings, including those by the Supreme Court earlier, paddy stubble burning by farmers has continued unabated in Punjab and Haryana. Experts have raised concerns that northern India is set to witness hazardous air quality this year too.
In November 2019, the SC had pulled up Punjab and Haryana governments for their inability to prevent pollution caused by stubble burning despite previous orders.
The bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta while calling Delhi “worse than hell” said toxic fumes over the city from stubble in the two neighbouring states were “reminiscent of an internal war”.
In 2020, medical experts have warned that air pollution coupled with the novel coronavirus, could lead to a serious healthcare crisis in the country during the winter season.Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the 2020 US presidential elections here