Swedish startup trained crows to pick up cigarette butts from the streets to clean the city
The Swedish startup, Corvid Cleaning has developed an innovative device that will feed crows a tiny fraction of food each time the crows bring back the cigarette butts and deposit them in the device.
The startup in the Swedish city of Södertälje, which is located near Stockholm recruited the local crows to clean discarded cigarette butts off the streets by picking them up.
According to advocates with the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, Around two-thirds of the 5.6 trillion cigarettes made each year are thrown irresponsibly. Most of the cigarettes end up in the waterways around the world.
The company believes that this new and innovative practice of cleaning could help save the economy of the city by preventing excessive expenses for cleaning. The founder Christian Günther-Hanssen told The Guardian that this new way of cleaning could cut the city’s cigarette butts removal budget by 75 percent. Now, this method is ready for large-scale testing.
He said, the crows are so intelligent, they can easily be trained quickly using a step-by-step method.
“They are easier to teach and there is also a higher chance of them learning from each other. At the same time, there’s a lower risk of them mistakenly eating any rubbish,” said Günther-Hanssen. According to the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation, the city of Södertälje spends about $2.7-million per year cleaning the streets, and more than one billion cigarette butts are thrown onto Sweden’s streets annually.
But Sweden isn’t the first country to do this method. Back in 2018, around six crows were trained to pick up cigarette butts at a park in France. It was part of an educational campaign to prompt the people to throw their butts in the trash.
“The estimation for the cost of picking up cigarette butts today is around 80 öre or more per cigarette butt, some say 2 kronor. If the crows pick up cigarette butts, this would maybe be 20 öre per cigarette butt. The saving for the municipality depends on how many cigarette butts the crows pick up,” said Tomas Thernström, a waste strategist at Södertälje municipality.
“It would be interesting to see if this could work in other environments as well. Also from the perspective that we can teach crows to pick up cigarette butts but we can’t teach people not to throw them on the ground. That’s an interesting thought,” said Tomas Thernström, a waste strategist at Södertälje municipality.
People need to realize throwing cigarettes irresponsibly could impact our planet badly, and if they try to avoid the bad practice by being responsible a lot of pollution can be avoided in the first place.
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