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UN appoints Paytm founder as patron for air pollution awareness

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 Rohit Shishodia
Nine out of ten people worldwide are breathing unsafe air.

The United Nations has appointed Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma as the Patron for clean air. Paytm is India’s largest mobile-first financial service provider. Mr Sharma has featured in Times Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People for 2017.

The UN said that Mr Sharma will help drive greater environmental action and awareness, and advocate the goals of UN Environment’s global BreathLife campaign- a major initiative on air quality seeking to influence policy and citizen action for a healthy future.

Referring to the worsening air quality in Delhi, Sharma said that Delhi is like a mother who is saying she is in pain. Air pollution starts from Delhi and becomes a national and global concern.

“This starts from Delhi and becomes a national and global concern. We can't achieve economic well-being without ensuring the well-being of the environment. The private sector is key to ensure cleaner air and a more sustainable future for us all,” said Mr  Sharma.

The UN informed that 9 out of 10 people worldwide are breathing unsafe air. Indoor and outdoor air pollution is the world's biggest environmental health risk, killing about 6.5 million people worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization, half of the 20 most-polluted cities in the world (high levels of PM2.5, a fine particulate matter), are in India, with Delhi coming in at number 11 overall.

Air pollution is, however, a global problem. Cities in Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia make up the rest of the top 20, while London, Paris and other major cities face growing problems.

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