Environmental conservation is facing a major post-pandemic slump as eco-organisations push to keep the public motivated despite facing declining engagement.

Plastic pollution expert and Executive Director of Plastic Oceans Australasia Ricki Hersburgh has noticed a slump in general community interest in environmental matters, particularly plastic pollution.

“We’ve got to a point, particularly in the developed countries where people are starting to turn off when they hear the words plastic, waste, pollution and recycling,” Hersburgh said.

People are “getting glazed over” whenever the conversation turns to the big global environmental challenges.

Despite the pre-pandemic progress, in recent years, COVID has been a major driver for people turning off when it comes to these global environmental challenges.


The environment takes a backseat to economic and health challenges.

“We’ve got economic challenges, we’ve come out of COVID, and now people have become very blasé and just gone back to what they did before COVID,” Hersburgh said.

According to recent research, the pandemic was responsible for a substantial increase in waste, including plastic waste.

The post-pandemic mindset is hampering efforts by organisations like Plastic Oceans Australasia that are trying to advance change to combat these global challenges.

People have “gone backwards in the steps we were moving forward in, which was to change people’s behaviour,” Hersburgh said.

“We are working really hard to turn the tide again, to get people to realise the enormous increase in plastic used, but it is really difficult,”

To celebrate World Environment Day and World Oceans Day this June, and reignite conversations about environmental conservation, Plastic Oceans Australasia has launched the UNESCO endorsed Ocean In Motion Film competition.

“The Ocean in Motion film competition inspires people to make changes with their daily habits on land so that they can stop the damage created when plastic enters our ocean”.