Birds clean streets – level 3

09-02-2022 07:00

Officials of a Swedish city are hiring birds to pick up discarded cigarette butts from the streets. They estimated that people leave more than 1 billion cigarette butts on Sweden’s streets each year, which is about 62% of all litter.

The Swedish city of Södertälje spends around 2.2 million dollars on street cleaning. A company designed a bespoke machine where wild birds put cigarette butts, and its goal is to save at least 75% of costs to pick up litter in the city. Crows pick up the litter, they put it in the machine, and they receive a little food for every cigarette butt.

The birds do this because they want to; however, crows are as good at reasoning as a human seven-year-old, and that makes them the smartest bird for the job. They are easier to teach than other birds, and there’s also a higher chance that they learn from each other. At the same time, there is a lower risk of them mistakenly eating any litter.

Difficult words: discard (to throw away), bespoke (made for a particular customer or use), reasoning (thinking about something in a logical and sensible way).

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