(CHINA OUT) Vultures preparing to eat pieces of a body are seen during a celestial burial ceremony on April 19, 2006 in Dari County of Guoluo Prefecture, Qinghai Province, northwest China. (Photo : China Photos/Getty Images)
Who says vultures can't do public service?
Vultures aren't exactly man's best friend, especially not in Lima, Peru where the birds travel in flocks. Some of the city's nearly 10 million citizens consider these animals as pests already, but Lima's environment ministry had a better idea.
Since flocks of vultures naturally feed on decomposing matter, they are usually seen at the city's four landfills.
Apparently, the city has a trash problem, and according to officials, the Peruvian capital accumulates up to 2.1 million tonnes of trash per year. That's a lot of rubbish, and vultures apparently love that.
However, trash can't only be found in the landfills. Some citizens reportedly make numerous illegal dumps throughout the year. Twenty percent of the tonnes of trash are illegal.
To address the problem, the environment ministry decided to create an unorthodox program/social media campaign where vultures are treated as protagonists instead of villains. Involving a Captain Phoenix and a Captain Aella, vultures will be used to raise awareness about Lima's trash problem and inspire residents to manage their waste and report illegal dumping of the trash.
"Vultures are our allies in the reduction of organic waste," program coordinator Javier Hernandez told the AFP.
"In their search for food, what they're really doing is identifying places where there is organic matter and garbage. We're using that... to get the GPS coordinates and monitor these sites," he added.
Perceived as dirty scavengers, environmental authorities in the Peruvian city have outfitted the vultures with GPS to track and report locations of illegal dumping grounds.
Those in charge of the campaign also made a public service video announcement to market the campaign, where a "vulture's" voice over describes the worsening waste situation in the city.
The video certainly looks grim, but it perfectly captures the gravity of the situation with its dark tone and impressive footage and editing.
The "vulture" explains how disease-carrying trash is a matter of life and death for the residents of the city.
Check out the video below.
The "vulture's" voice begins by saying, "Fourteen thousand years have passed since this struggle began."
"On one hand, pestilence and disease are hidden among the filth. On the other hand, humanity is placidly ignoring the danger that threatens," it continues.
For the program, Lima's environmental authorities equipped 10 mythically named vultures with GPS trackers as well as mini video cameras. They're supposed to lead the authorities to the illegal trash dumping grounds that eventually pollute Lima's rivers and its Pacific coastline.
The 10 birds were ensured to be disease free. They have also been trained to return to their keepers following each track and report mission.
All video footage that these birds take will reportedly be posted online.
Know more about Lima's campaign with the website www.gallinazoavisa.pe.