ABOUT THE MILLENNIUM FELLOWSHIP - CLASS OF 2021

United Nations Academic Impact and MCN are proud to partner on the Millennium Fellowship. In 2021, over 25,000 young leaders on 2,000+ campuses across 153 nations applied to join the Class of 2021. 136 campuses worldwide (just 6%) were selected to host the 2,000+ Millennium Fellows. The Class of 2021 is bold, innovative, and inclusive.

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UNITED NATIONS ACADEMIC IMPACT AND MCN PROUDLY PRESENT MAHANASH KUMAR BS, A MILLENNIUM FELLOW FOR THE CLASS OF 2021.

PES University | Bengaluru, India | Advancing SDG 13 & UNAI 9

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" The Millennium Fellowship is a wonderful opportunity for us in building a strong global network. It majorly serves as a learning platform, wherein we can learn leadership skills and work as a team in achieving Sustainable development goals.
Definitely, the outreach can be increased to a huge scale with the help of the Millennium Fellowship program. Academic institutes themselves can play an important role in ensuring the well-being of the people, planet, focusing on the aspects of wildlife conservation, and educating farmers to adopt climate-smart agriculture. "

Millennium Fellowship Project: Lake Rejuvenation

Water is an integral part of our lives. Even though the earth is covered up with 70 % of water, only a small quantity of it is fit for human consumption. Freshwater is present in polar ice caps, lakes, and rivers. Out these lakes play a really important role in supplementing the water requirement. My project for this fellowship is LAKE REJUVENATION which falls under SDG 13 and SDG 6.
I live in Bengaluru which is situated on undulating lands intermittently dotted with low hills and valleys and is also known as the city of lakes. Interestingly, most of these lakes are not natural water bodies, but man-made. Had it not been for the lakes, precious rainwater would have naturally flown away from Bangalore along the natural slopes into the adjoining lands. Bangalore is in fact an urban agglomeration, a contiguous built-up area of about 451 square kilometers also known as the Bangalore Urban District. Together with the Bangalore Rural District and Malur Taluk of Kolar District, it forms the Bangalore Metropolitan Region, an area of about 1300 square kilometers. Lakes of Bangalore occupy about 4.8% of the city's geographical area (640 square kilometers) covering both urban and rural areas. Bangalore lakes have several direct use values apart from replenishing the groundwater table and influencing the climate of the city.
The lakes in Bengaluru form a chain of hydrological connections through them. The flow of the water runs from North to South-East as well as South-West along the natural gradient of the land. During monsoons, the surplus water from the upstream lake flows down into the next lake in the chain and from there further down. This connectivity did not allow an overflow of water out of the lake into the surrounding area as the additional quantity of seasonal water was thus transferred to the other lakes. The system hence served as an excellent flood controller. Supported by a network of stormwater drains, these lakes thus trapped and stored rainwater and served as the means of rainwater harvesting for agriculture, drinking, and washing. Nowadays, due to rapid urbanization, almost 135 lakes have disappeared from the map of Bangalore. Lack of proper management strategies is a major factor that has led to the deterioration of lakes. Existing lakes too are under great pressure. Today the figure rests at 81, of these only 34 are recognized to be live lakes. In terms of the number of water bodies, the reduction is as high as 35.09 percent, while in terms of water spread area, it shows an 8.66 percent decrease. Sedimentation also has reduced the impounding capacity of lakes.
The shallowness of water has increased the evaporation rate. This has reduced groundwater levels on account of poor permeability with more and more silt, clay deposits, trash, and toxic waste accumulation in the lakes, year after year, and degeneration of groundwater quality. The water table has receded considerably and the water which was available at a depth of 80 to 90 feet has now increased to 400 to 500 feet and at some places, it has completely vanished. There are around 2000 urban lakes in the State which were basically constructed to meet the urban needs of the concerned towns. A full-fledged survey/ demarcation/ classification of lakes in the BMRDA area is yet to be completed. Latest satellite imageries coupled with Toposheet, Survey of India, information have indicated that approximately 18260.48 ha. of water spread in 2789 lakes in the BMRDA area exist. Out of the above lakes, those falling in the BDA area, number 608 with a water spread area of 4572.73 hectares.

Bengaluru can be divided into three watersheds Vrishabavathi valley, Hebbal Valley, and Koramangla Challagahatta valley. My focus was on Vrishabavathi valley, which consisted of 31 lakes. Comprehensive fieldwork was carried out for all the lakes and data regarding types of inflow, Dependency on the lake, Watercolor, Number of inlets, Biodiversity of the lake, the present status of the lake, and problems faced due to anthropogenic activities and encroachment details.

Further studies are focused on ways to categorize the lake based on the type of inlet sources into four different types namely Sewage Inet, Industrial Inlet, Rainwater runoff, and Inet comprising both sewage and industrial waste. Carry out water quality analysis and detect the constituents present and monitor the lakes

About the Millennium Fellow

Mahanash Kumar BS is deeply passionate about wildlife biology, conservation science, impacts of climate change, and land-use change on biodiversity. He strongly believes that wildlife conservation is one of the most important aspects of sustainable development. Working as a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) volunteer he has acquired a significant amount of social skills, assertiveness skills, creativity, and critical thinking. It has motivated him to work for the development of a better environment. Nearly 70 percent of wildlife lost since 1970. Increasing deforestation and agricultural expansion are key drivers behind the 68 percent average decline in the animal, bird, and fish populations between 1970 and 2016. Mahanash believes that it is important to shift concern towards climate-smart agriculture which can play a major role in combating climate change.
He believes Empathy, Humility, and Inclusion are the major traits that are to be inculcated in students so that they can contribute towards sustainable development goals.