Chris Mercieca / LinkedIn

Happy Pot Co-Founder and CEO Chris Mercieca has emphasised that people need to start observing Earth Day every day, seeing it as an urgent call to action, not just an event that happens once a year.

Earth Day is an annual event that takes places on 22nd April with the aim of increasing awareness and support towards the protection of our environment. While it was first held in 1970, it has now grown to include a number events coordinated by EARTHDAY.org. This year’s official theme is “Planet vs Plastics,” aimed at highlighting the need to reduce single-use plastic waste.

In a blog post to mark the annual event, Mr Mercieca on Monday (today) said that this year’s theme highlights the impact that such plastic waste can have on our ecosystems, health, and the safety of future civilisations.

Mr Mercieca co-founded Happy Pot, a Malta-based plant pot manufacturing company, together with Ġorġ Vella in 2022. Through the company’s 3D-printed plant pots, the pair aim to combine creativity and personality with sustainability and environmental awareness, while also planting trees in the process.

“Every year, millions of innocent animals are strangled in discarded fishing nets which take up to 600 years to disintegrate, causing boundless harm for as long as they float through our oceans,” he remarked. Additionally, so much plastic is in our oceans that 90 per cent of seabirds are found to have plastic trash in them, and by 2050, plastic is expected to outweigh all the fish in the sea.

Mr Mercieca said that the issue has “gone beyond bottles washing up on beaches and turtles choking on straws,” as microplastics are found in our food, bottled water, and practically all corners of the planet. Studies have found that this has led to an increase in a number of issues, including cancer and drops in fertility rates, among other problems.

While many businesses have repeatedly highlighted the need to embrace sustainability initiatives, the situation isn’t getting any better, with many corporations continuing to produce harmful plastics at alarming rates, disregarding the detrimental effects on the planet in the process.

In spite of the daunting challenges posed by plastic pollution, Mr Mercieca said that “there is hope.”

“Together, we can make a difference. By supporting initiatives that promote recycling, reducing single-use plastics, and advocating for policy changes that prioritise sustainability, we can mitigate the harmful effects of plastic pollution on our planet,” he added.

Some organisations have embraced innovation and technology to offer different solutions, including biodegradable alternatives to plastic packaging and developments in waste management systems. In addition to this, Mr Mercieca also noted that others such as The Ocean Cleanup have utilised their resources to clean up oceans, and has so far collected more than nine million kilogrammes of trash from rivers.

“As consumers, we hold tremendous power to drive change through our everyday choices. By opting for reusable products, supporting eco-conscious brands, and advocating for sustainable practices within our communities, we can collectively reduce our reliance on plastics and protect the health of our environment,” he affirmed.

Mr Mercieca said that Happy Pot organises monthly cleanups across the Maltese Islands, and the team is grateful for the community of activists and environmentalists who often take part. He said that these activities have become more than just picking plastic together, but it has become a community who do not just share Happy Pot’s “fear for the world’s future,” but are also “actively trying to change the narrative.”

Chris Mercieca Cleanup
Happy Pot’s cleanup team at one of its recent cleanups at L-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa / LinkedIn

The next cleanup will take place on 28th April at Mizieb from 12pm to 3pm.

“Let us celebrate Earth Day not only as a reminder of the challenges we face, but also as a call to action. Together, let’s commit to a future where our planet thrives, free from the burden of plastic pollution,” Mr Mercieca said.

“For as long as we share this beautiful planet, every day is Earth Day,” he concluded.

Featured Image:

Happy Pot Co-Founder and CEO Chris Mercieca / LinkedIn

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