Training crows to pick up cigarettes butts

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Crowbar

According to Statistics Netherlands, in 2016 about 24% of the Dutch population over 25 smoked and many people who still do continue to act as if the world is their ashtray and litter everywhere. To counter this serious problem, a Dutch designer has come up with a way to pick up their butts up that involves training crows to do it.

A start-up called Crowded Cities set up by designers Bob Spikman and Ruben van der Vleuten plans to manufacture and install ‘crow bars’ in the urban landscape. The idea is to teach crows to pick up cigarette butts in exchange for food that is dispensed by the same device.

The video below also mentions that some research will have to be carried out to see how making crows do litterbugs’ dirty work will affect the crows on the long term. You can be sure animal activists will keep an eagle eye on that development.

Spikman explains that their machine will not dispense food if the bird were to put a lollipop stick on the delivery platform, and the video also mentions that the food is only dispensed once the butt is on the delivery platform, as that would make it quite an expensive bird feeder.

Getting people to pick up after themselves has clearly failed and any ideas the pair had over a type of vacuum machine to pick up butts weren’t feasible, so they’ve gone with crows. Even biodegradable cigarette filters aren’t an option because plastic and chemicals still end up polluting the ground and nature.

Watch the first six minutes of this video in English to get a feel for the crow bar.

(Link: trouw.nl, Screenshot of video)

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