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Sweden recruits crows to pick cigarettes butts

Sweden recruits crows to pick cigarettes butts

A Swedish firm has deployed crows to pick up cigarette butts and other forms of litter to reduce the cleaning costs of the city.

The birds are being trained through a step-by-step procedure to pick up rubbish from the streets of Södertälje and put it into a special vending machine that will dispense food for them.

The vending machine will be able to tell the litter apart from other items such as stones and leaves.

The process is part of a pilot project called ‘Corvid Cleaning’ by The Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation. The project aims to lower the costs of street cleaning in the city.

The city currently spends 20 million Swedish krona (Rs 16.28 crore) on street cleaning.

Christian Günther-Hanssen, the founder of the company, estimated that using crows would reduce the costs by at least 75 per cent.

He also said that the wild birds were “taking part on a voluntary basis” and were “easier to teach” than other birds.

He told the Swedish news agency TT, “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.”

He added, “The saving for the municipality depends on how many cigarette butts the crows pick up.”

Günther-Hanssen said that the foundation had used hooded crows so far but magpies and jackdaws are also expected to be a part of the project.

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