This Swedish Company is Training Crows to Pick Cigarette Butts From Streets

Waste production is one of the glaring issues that is wounding the environment by the minute. Currently, more than 2 billion tonnes of waste are produced worldwide every year. A minuscule contributor to this burgeoning waste is cigarette butts. Touted as the most littered form of plastic, cigarette butts account for more than 26,000 tonnes of waste every year in India alone. A Swedish company is gaining traction on the internet, for they are devising a way to tackle this issue and reduce the impact of littered cigarette butts on the streets. But the attention gained by this start-up company is not because of the goal that they have set but the way they will try to achieve it.

The company called Corvid Cleaning, through a reward-based system, is training crows to pick up cigarette butts. These wild crows will be trained using a machine that dispenses food if a cigarette butt is put into the machine. The training will be a step-by-step process, and the first batch of trained birds will be administered in the city of Sodertalje.

“The company chose to use crows as they are the most intelligent bird. They are easier to teach, and there is also a higher chance of them learning from each other. At the same time, there is a lower risk of them mistakenly eating any rubbish,” said Christian Gunther-Hanssen, founder of Corvid Cleaning, in an interview with TT. Christian claims that the system involving trained crows is ready for large-scale testing, and they will begin these tests in the Sodertalje municipality.

Reuters uploaded a video of these trained crows in action. In the video, crows are seen biting the cigarette butts and then putting them into the trash can. They then wait for the machine to dispense peanuts as rewards. Take a look:

A similar method was used in 2018 at a French historical theme park called Puy du Fou, where crows used to pick up garbage and cigarette butts for a tasty nugget of bird food as a reward.

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