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 MEGHNA VALAKATTE, A MILLENNIUM FELLOW FOR THE CLASS OF 2021.

PES University | Bengaluru, India | Advancing SDG 12 & UNAI 9

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" I have always been a dreamer - so many ideas are buried in me, with nowhere to go. Being a Millennium Fellow would give me the platform I need to channel my thoughts into practicality. "

Millennium Fellowship Project: Plastic Biodegradation at Home

Our idea involves biodegradation of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics at the household level. These are plastics which are difficult to reuse and recycle. In this project, kitchen and garden waste are mixed with soil and buttermilk, after which plastic subjected to heat pretreatment is added directly to the mixture. This set up is left to compost, so that the microbes present can degrade the embedded plastic effectively. Here, waste (plastic) is being eliminated using other waste (organic household substances) to give harmless by-products, which may even be used as organic fertilizer. On fine-tuning this approach, we may be able to clear up the landfills and waste dumps around us. Furthermore, wastes can be handled right where they are produced, without even a need for segregation into wet and dry groups. This method helps us degrade plastic using only household resources with no additional expenditure, and is a promising solution to the global problem of plastic waste management.

About the Millennium Fellow

Meghna Valakatte is a person who loves looking for new perspectives to understand the world. Currently doing her B.Tech in Biotechnology at PES University, Bangalore, India, she aspires to dedicate a major portion of her life to biological research. Being a person with strong moral beliefs, Meghna has always felt disturbed by humans' anthropocentric view towards the planet - the way we selfishly exploit and pollute natural resources, and endanger other organisms' lives in order to achieve our own goals. Although she knows that she, as one individual, cannot do much, she wants to use what little she knows, and contribute to help clean the planet up.