Padlocks left by love-struck couples on the famed bridges of Paris prompt the launch of a campaign to stop the spread of the phenomenon. Elly Park reports.
REPORTER: Is it a fix of love, or a showing of indifference? Around 700,000 padlocks are smothering the iconic bridges of Paris, left by amorous couples who symbolically seal their feelings. But too much love can be a drag, literally, as the metal locks are weighing down the bridges according to Lisa Taylor Huff, who launched the online "No love locks" petition calling for a ban.
'NO LOVE LOCKS' CAMPAIGNER LISA TAYLOR HUFF: "The bridges are actually being physically damaged by the weight of the locks, by the rust that goes, passes from the locks onto the mesh and the grillage (=fence), by the environmental damage to the river from the keys that are thrown in and rusting."
REPORTER: The Pont des Arts is the most renowned bridge to suffer from the epidemic. It now holds 93 metric tons of metal, the equivalent of three large trucks parked permanently on the pedestrian-only bridge. But tourists here seem to take that excess lightly.
ENGLISH TOURIST LAURENCE: "No, I think it's accepted vandalism, there are certain things that are illegal or there are things that you shouldn't do but they're accepted."
TOURIST JEAN LOUIS: "I think that when it comes to pollution there are other problems with pollution to deal with than padlocks on the Pont des Arts."
REPORTER: The "No Love Locks" petition has already been signed by hundreds of supporters who would rather see the burdening display of love... thrown away.
1. Heartache is a feeling of great sadness or emotional pain (when you are away from a loved one for example), but the word is also sometimes used to refer to more general problems. • The power struggle between the national team and Cricket Australia's off-field hierarchy is still causing heartache.
2. If something is a drag, it is boring or annoying. • Having to work late every day is a drag. And the padlocks are a drag (= additional weight) on the bridges.
This would be a good topic for a classroom debate or discussion. Students could vote to keep or get rid of the love locks at the end.