The government of Shengzhou, a tiny city of more than half a million in eastern China, came up with a brilliant idea to mobilize its population into beautifying the city: paying people in tissues for every cigarette butt they collected off the street.
Everything was going well, until a suspiciously large number of cigarette butts began flowing in, and didn’t stop.
According to Sohu, one official claimed that 4.8 million cigarette butts had been received in less than a month, causing the local sanitation department to hand out over 100,000 packets of tissues.
These would seem like unreasonably high numbers, but take a look at this picture:
Most of the people streaming downtown with bundles of cigarette butts were elderly. The official remembers that one old lady carried 9,100 butts into the office.
Eventually, Shengzhou officials were forced to cancel their campaign, believing that there was absolutely no way that all those butts were coming from Shengzhou. In order, to get to that amount, Shengzhou residents had asked friends from outside the city to bring in their own butts. This was not in the spirit of the campaign.
Hopefully, all those tissue papers were placed in the recycling.
[Images via Sohu / EZJSR.com]