Cigarette butts left on the ground are a serious ecological problem. For this reason, a Swedish company has turned to one of the most intelligent animals on the planet to take charge of this situation.
The company is called Corvid Cleaning and has come up with an innovative teaching system for crows to learn how to pick up cigarette butts from the ground.
This curious technique works through positive reinforcement, since every time one of these specimens takes a cigarette butt, it receives a little food. Of course, the more butts you can remove, the more food this bird will receive.
The idea is that over time the crows take the food alone once they have deposited the waste in the container assigned for this purpose.
“It is easier to teach them and there is also a greater chance that they will learn from each other. At the same time, there is less risk of them accidentally eating some rubbish,” explains Christian Günther-Hanssen, founder of this small company from Stockholm.
He also adds that the animals “are wild birds that participate voluntarily,” without explaining how this kind of volunteering works.
Corvid Cleaning wants to carry out a pilot test before rolling out this program in all cities. This test also seeks to check the health of the birds, as they will be picking up cigarette butts from the ground.
According to official data, smokers’ waste makes up 62 percent of all rubbish collected in Sweden.
Thus, this unique program with crows responds to the inability —or lack of will— of humans to throw their butts to the place designated for it.