Love Locks: An Army Of International Voices Are Opposing The Padlock Plague. Here’s Why
Engrave the names of you and your partner onto a love lock, fasten it to a bridge, lamp post, fence, monument or another scenic landmark anywhere in the world, throw away the key and voilá – you’ve got the ultimate symbol of everlasting love.
“Padlocks are designed to be durable and steadfast, to hold two things together securely, to keep something safe. This is easily translated into a ritual about love, commitment and memory,” according to Dr Ceri Houlbrook at the University of Hertfordshire.
But now destinations from Paris in France to the Grand Canyon in the United States want to break up with the romantic tradition. Let’s unlock the mystery behind an increasing opposition against the padlock plague, so you can decide if the tradition is appropriate.
Weight Of Love: Safety Concerns
While one love lock doesn’t cause widespread damage, a proliferation of them can be concerning. In Paris, people started to place the padlocks on the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge crossing the Seine. That was in 2008 and street vendors saw it as an opportunity.
Within the next 7 years, the bridge accumulated 93 metric tons in weight, owing to roughly 700,000 individual locks secured to the landmark. Sections of the bridge collapsed in 2014, with authorities removing the locks and installing padlock-proof plexiglass the following year.
Solutions To The Padlock Trend
Cities around the world have faced similar issues. In 2015, Melbourne got rid of tens of thousands of padlocks fastened to the Evan Walker Bridge. The same year, the Brooklyn Bridge removed scores of locks, following which NYC started issuing $100 penalties.
In the Grand Canyon, the padlocks aren’t the only concern. The innumerable keys tossed into the wild can harm animals, including the endangered condor, a curious bird attracted to shiny objects. Wildlife can and do ingest the tiny items, which could get lodged in their digestive tracts.
Despite the safety concerns, the padlock trend continues across the globe, compelling several locations to create designated spaces that can encourage the custom safely. In Namsan Mountain, Seoul, ‘love boxes’ are provided for couples to drop keys after attaching the locks.