Maria was born in Lebanon. Exposed to air pollution in the streets of Beirut, she went on to study environmental economics at University College London, where she met many of her Bank colleagues. Joining the Bank in 1997 one of her line of work in the MNA region was to estimate the cost of environmental degradation. One excel sheet, turned into an ESW, which turned into many publications and a Book in 2009. Putting a monetary value to environmental degradation has helped push the environmental agenda in many countries in MNA she says. In the South Asia region she’s managing a large climate change trust fund in Bangladesh. But her real passion remains to reduce pollution. Every trip in Dhaka she visits a different brick kilns. Using her valuation skills she is trying to make the argument that switching to cleaner technologies will benefit private entrepreneurs and substantially improve public health.