With air pollution levels rising 40 times over the safe limits in Delhi this year, the city has turned into a virtual gas chamber. As winter approaches and Diwali crackers fall silent, there has been a widespread concern about the increasing air pollution in the city.
And though there are public debates among politicians, government, and experts, there’s one person who is putting his money where his mouth is. In an interview with NDTV, Paytm’s Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma pledged a fund of Rs 10 crore to build a network of startups that are working towards environment sustainability in India.
In a recent tweet, he had said, “I am ready to fund and build a network of startups/labs for environment sustainability in India. Today 5 cities' tomorrow 50 cities' problem.”
In a series of tweets that draws the attention of not only his 64,000 followers but the world at large, VSS, as he is better known in the startup fraternity, said that five years ago when he was visiting Beijing, he was shocked to see the thick smog for the first time. “I asked myself: why do people live in such a polluted city?” He added that today, he finds the same situation in Delhi.
VSS, who moved to Bengaluru from Delhi recently because of his son’s asthma, told NTDV that if "we cannot sustain our environment then no amount of success will matter." The air pollution and smog are “like a death warrant. It is a far greater health emergency than any that we have seen so far,” he said.
VSS felt that if things were not taken up on a war footing, it will be sooner than later when cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai followed the example of Delhi.
Concerned that “we Indians have never treated environment issues as a concern,” VSS stated that the time had come to fight this issue together. “The air we breathe in should become as important an issue as roti, kapada aur makan, he said, adding that Indians have started taking this conversation to social media.
“This is one of the biggest issues of our generation. A movement for survival,” said VSS