The birds, which were chosen for their ability to learn such a skill, will be trained to pick up litter and discarded items through a feeding system.

For every cigarette butt deposited, the birds earn food. They collect the cigarettes and then drop them off in a specially designed machine.

The machine can distinguish between different types of objects, noticing what is garbage and what is material from nature, such as leaves. The project was launched by the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation, whose founder, Christian Günther-Hanssen, insisted that the birds “participate voluntarily”.

Known as “Corvid Cleanup,” those involved hope the crows will help keep city street cleanup costs down. Mr Günther-Hanssen predicts that the pilot project could save the city around 75 per cent of its current street cleaning costs, which amount to around £1.6 million each year.

Cigarette butts are the number 1 form of plastic pollution, with around 4.5 billion cigarette butts littered in the world today.

To keep the streets free of debris, Sweden spends about 20 million Swedish kronor (about $2.2 million) on street sweeping. Günther-Hanssen believes that relying on wild crows to collect cigarettes in exchange for food could reduce street cleaning costs by 75% or more.

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