Young Pakistani student leads the fight against fuel poverty

LONDON: A young Pakistani student is leading the fight against fuel poverty in the world.

Budding environmental activist, Aliza Ayaz is presently the UK House Of Lord’s student nominee on Health & Environment. The young, valourous student continues to work for the betterment of Pakistan despite studying a full-time Master’s programme at University College London (UCL).

Ms Aliza Ayaz shares her insights with a distinguished panel.

Speaking to The Pakistan Daily, Ayaz said, “There are still thousands and thousands of households in Pakistan that lack a proper heating system. They are stuck in poverty with no avenues to keep themselves warm, thus leading to poor health.”

Ayaz mentioned that the problems and diseases linked to the cold, range from blood pressure increases and common colds, to heart attacks and pneumonia could be solved through better heating systems, particularly in Pakistan.

“I am determined to address this,” Ayaz vowed whilst also promising to come up with solutions to help every Pakistani save money on their energy bills.

Ayaz previously worked closely with British MP Nadia Whittome for the Climate Emergency Education Act which ensures that Climate Emergency is incorporated into education at all levels and to provide funding so that school pupils, university students, apprentices, teachers, lecturers and adult learners are prepared for their future and the responsibility of preserving a habitable planet for future generations.

Ms Aliza Ayaz giving a speech on UCL Climate Action Society’s Sustainability Symposium

More recently, Ayaz has scored a major role with the UK government’s Green Home Grants Scheme which is a £2 billion package to help the UK bounce back from the covid-19 pandemic by saving money, cutting carbon, and creating jobs.

Despite her international experience working with the United Nations and the UK government, Aliza Ayaz is hopeful about the future of Pakistan.

“Pakistan can lead the way with sustainable homes. Experts say we are going in the wrong direction. At current rates, it will take 700 years for the UK to move to low-carbon heating! The Green Homes Grant must be the start of a longer-term effort to phase out fossil fuels and we need to do something similar in Pakistan as soon as possible,” Ayaz said.

The world-renowned environmental activist who is presently studying Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology at UCL mentioned how she was inspired from her mother, Dr Rana Najmi, a senior pulmonologist who has significantly contributed to the COVID-19 response in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Ayaz mentioned that even though the Pakistani government lacked funds to fight the environmental crisis, a partnership with other stakeholders could flip the situation.

“A Government Scheme making £50m available to housing landlords to improve energy-efficiency for low-income households could mean that there is more support to upgrade your housing stock and it is a great opportunity to partner with the local Pakistani energy retrofit companies to complete these works,” Ayaz said.

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