Downside of love locks on bridges
Love locks is a tradition that is believed to have originated from ancient China where couples would lock a padlock to a fence or a bridge and throw the key into the river as a way to show an everlasting bond of love. This tradition has spread to major cities across the world with Europe leading the way. However, as much as the tradition sounds and feels beautiful, it has severe effects on the integrity of the structures where the locks are latched as well as the environment. Here are reasons why these locks should not be put on any bridge but rather choose a digital padlock.
These structures are made by suspending metal beams over pillars. When they are being constructed, the engineers have a certain weight limit that they envision that the structure can hold. If the weight of the structure goes over the limit at any time, there is a risk that it might collapse or damage a part of the structure with severe consequences to its safety.
A padlock may seem light in weight. However, thousands of locks on a given rail can weigh several tonnes. If this trend continues over time, the rail would be so heavy that it sags or warps the supporting base. If natural forces such as strong winds and tremors act on the construction, there is a real risk that it would collapse causing loss of life and damage to vehicles not mentioning the enormous work of cleaning up that would be required on the river below.
Most of the locks are made with metals that corrode when exposed to weather elements. Over several years chemical reactions around the metals weaken the link on the rail where the lock is placed. This is amplified by the sheer number of locks placed on the rails. The weak rail is usually the first step to the damage or partial collapse of a structure. This for example happened to the bridge Pont Des Arts in Paris.
Where the structure does not collapse, it takes thousands of dollars to repair warping, cracks, and sagging of the structure. This cash may have been used for other worthy projects in the city. The next time you place a lock on the side of a river crossing, know that it could collapse before you even walk away.
As explained earlier, after the locks are latched in lovebirds throw keys into the river. Over time, there are thousands of keys thrown into the river below. Unfortunately, metal corrodes after being in contact with water. Therefore with time, there are heaps of corroded keys in the river. The rust releases metal compounds into the water making it toxic for consumption and killing water organisms. If the trend continues over several years, the city authorities will have to spend millions to clean up the rivers or unblock reservoirs blocked by the locks. Blocked drains are a leading cause of flooding during times of heavy rainfall and storms. With the world advocating for a pollution-free environment, water pollution is a slap on the face of environment care efforts.
Vandalism and damage to aesthetics
A river crossing is meticulously built to enhance its look or aesthetics. This is why many of these structures are beautiful to look at. The choice of color, materials, and shapes made on the sides give the structure a characteristic image that is unique. Unfortunately, locks have turned some of the most beautiful landmarks into lumps of locks.
Most local authorities now take placing locks on the rails as acts of vandalism. Even though many authorities have not passed love lock laws, there are warning signs not to latch a lock in some of the major river crossing structures across the world that include Point Danger in Queensland, and Pont des Arts in Paris.
Cities are taking down the locks and threatening fines
The love lock menace has gone to levels that require intervention. When the Queensland authorities were considering removing locks from the river crossings, they agreed that the locks could not be returned to their owners for there was no contact information on them. They also concluded that none of the owners had the permission from the authority to put their locks by the rails. In Paris, the authorities have been taking down locks on various river crossings in the recent past. Despite the uproar that it has generated among the general populace, this action has been deemed essential to save the face of the river crossings. The City of Venice and Berlin have passed laws that have made it illegal to place locks on any public structure. The fines that are metered on the lawbreakers are quite high to discourage lovebirds from such practices.
What are the alternatives?
Besides getting a digital lovelock? There have been local alternatives around the globe.
Some authorities recognize the history of the tradition and are looking for safe ways to have people enjoy the tradition. For example, there are several cities in Russia where there are metal trees where lovers can latch their locks in a show of love. This has created beautiful lock structures in some of the major streets of these cities. Other countries around the world are also looking for designated locations where lovebirds can continue with this century-old tradition.
Some authorities are redesigning the railing system to make it hard for anyone to latch a lock. Paris is leading the way by installing glass panels and removing any hooks or railings that might be used for latching. The city is also encouraging and placing street art in many river crossings to improve aesthetics. Although some people will go to any length to hang a lock, there is increased public participation in bringing down locks to keep these landmarks safe and clean.
Environmentalists are advocating for other ways to show love in a way that does not affect the environment negatively. Such suggestions include planting a tree, creation of street art boards where lovers can inscribe the names of their partners, works of charity, and taking part in conservation initiatives in the name of love. They argue that these efforts are everlasting as locks latched to a rail.
The ‘love locks’ tradition is close to the hearts of many people. However, over the years, locks have had adverse effects on public structures especially the river crossings where they are latched. They damage the integrity of the structure, pollute the environment and may leave behind an unpleasant sight. Lovebirds should, therefore, look for less destructive areas to demonstrate their love.
Do you want to save the environment?YES! Let me get a digital lovelock