Deadly Air Pollution Is Getting Worse, While Trump Brags About “The Cleanest Air”

The country’s air pollution was on a steady decline—until Trump took office.

Getty Images

Despite President Donald Trump having continuously boasted about how the U.S. has the “cleanest and purest air on the planet,” deadly air pollution is actually getting worse.

The country has historically been diligent about decreasing emissions and improving its air quality. Since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1963, and amended in 1970, emissions from the six most common air pollutants have reportedly dropped 73%, which drastically improved air quality.

However, data reported in the New York Times shows that a certain type of air pollution has increased nationally since 2016. According to an EPA analysis by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, fine particulate pollution increased 5.5% between 2016 and 2018, even though it was on the decline for seven years prior. The pollution, named for its minuscule size, has been linked to a host of health problems from asthma and lung cancer to miscarriages.

Though the study cited an increase in driving and wildfires as an emissions contributor, it also suggested that a decrease in enforcement of the Clean Air Act may also be to blame.

Trump has tried to tout his commitment to the environment in the past, claiming the country has “crystal clean water and the cleanest and the purest air on the planet.” But between the Trump administration’s history of rolling back environmental rules, and its ambivalence toward the ever-more-evident global climate crisis, it wouldn’t appear that the environment is his highest priority.