Love locks nearly destroyed this bridge, but the city is repurposing them in the best way.

In 2008, couples with a flair for the romantic started sojourning to the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris to leave symbols of their everlasting love.

Tourists flocked to the popular pedestrian bridge to sign their initials on a padlock, lock it to the railing, and throw the key in the Seine river.

A couple takes picture at the Pont des Arts. Photo by Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images.


From the outset, it seemed like an adorable tradition. Surely, a bridge in the world's most romantic city can handle a few mementos, right? Well, not quite. The Pont des Arts was not built to handle the additional 45 to 65 tons (yes, tons!) of padlocks added by visitors. In 2014, the bridge was evacuated after part of the railing collapsed.

Love is strong. Stone and iron can only take so much.

Authorities tried to discourage the love locks practice, even suggesting selfies instead, but tourists (and zealous padlock salespeople near the bridge) weren't swayed.

A woman looks at padlocks hanging on the Pont des Arts. Photo by Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images.

So in 2015, the city completely remove the railings (locks and all) and replaced them with sheets of plexiglass.

Cranes were required to get the job done, as lifting more than 1 million padlocks is no easy feat.

A worker removes "love locks" attached on the railings of the Pont des Arts. Photo by Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images.

The result? No more heavy locks. No more keys in the Seine (this was especially important to Paris's mayor, Anne Hidalgo who pledged to clean up the polluted waterway). And a stronger, safer bridge for all.

A couple watches seagulls flying over the new "lock-free" Pont des Arts. Photo by Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images.

Since the new look more than a year ago, most lovebirds assumed their locks were discarded. But Paris being Paris, they found a way for all that love to live on.

Beginning early next year, 10 tons of the locks, which were removed from the bridge in 2015, will be sold to raise money for groups and organizations supporting refugees in the Paris metro area.

“Members of the public can buy five or 10 locks, or even clusters of them, all at an affordable price," Bruno Julliard, first deputy mayor of Paris told reporters at a press event.

Julliard expects to raise just over $107,000 (100,000 euros) for local groups supporting refuges in the region, though details are scarce on which organizations will receive the money or how much individual locks will cost.

The remaining locks will be melted down and sold as scrap metal.

Love padlocks attached on the railings of the Pont des Arts. Photo by Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images.

This has the potential to be a great solution to a popular problem.

The Pont des Arts isn't the only bridge with a love lock problem, and this could be a viable solution for public spaces around the world.

Couples have the opportunity to potentially buy their lock back or to own a little piece of history. A popular bridge stays clean and safe. And the project supports thousands of refugees living in and around the city. It's forward thinking, eco-friendly, and supports people in need.

What's not to love?

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

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