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Hawaii's love locks 'unsightly'

Associated Press Associated Press 28/10/2016

Affection for love locks locations has grown phenomenally in recent years, but state officials in Hawaii have become the latest to demand their removal.

Couples worldwide have lovingly adopted the ritual of locking a padlock to an object, often a bridge, then throwing away the key, often into a river or lake, to symbolise their everlasting love.

But authorities are less amorous of the spectacle, often treating the locks as vandalism due to the damage caused by the rusting and decay of the metal, and the cost of removing them.

State officials in Hawaii consider the placement of love locks as littering, and have removed nearly 100 locks placed along a lookout in Kauai's Waimea Canyon, The Garden Island newspaper reported.

The locks are unsightly and damage infrastructure within Hawaii's parks, said Curt Cottrell, administrator for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

"Placing 'love locks' on fences, bridges and public structures is a serious and unsightly littering problem that promotes rusting and the decay of metal infrastructure which will weaken the safety fencing at our State Parks," Cottrell said.

The locks removed from the canyon on October 16 were limited to ones on a fence in the lookout area.

"We can try to address this through railing design moving forward," Cottrell said. "People must respect the natural and cultural aspect of Hawaii's special places and not add unsightly, damage-causing features such as locks."

Officials will remove any new locks as soon as they are placed, Cottrell said.

Nalani Brun with the county Department of Economic Development said it's important for Kauai residents to keep parks clean.

"On Kauai, we celebrate love in so many ways, often enveloped in the beauty of our natural surroundings," said Brun, the department's tourism and operations manager.

"Thus, keeping our parks as pristine as possible is of utmost importance, and following the 'leave no trace' rule would help to prevent the degradation of our natural resources."

Love lock locations are often temporary - until authorities get around to removing the padlocks. Here are some of the world's favourites:

PONT DEA ARTS BRIDGE, PARIS, FRANCE

There is so much love locked onto this bridge that, at an estimated weight of 93 metric tons, it's no wonder part of its parapet collapsed into the Seine in June 2014. The following summer, the city of Paris began removing them - to the dismay of tourists.

MOUNT HUANGSHAN, CHINA

Huangshan is known as one of China's most beautiful mountains, so it's a fitting place to declare your love. Thousands of couples have done just that, clipping padlocks onto one of the fences and throwing the key into the valleys below.

BUTCHER'S BRIDGE, LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA

Thousands of couples have locked their souls together on the wire cords of this new pedestrian bridge since 2010. It's now become a huge tourist attraction in the Slovenian capital.

PONTE MILVIO BRIDGE, ROME, ITALY

It's no surprise the Italians would adopt this amorous tradition, with Ponte Milvio bridge in Rome the place to declare one's love.

MALA STRANA DISTRICT, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

Colourful padlocks are clipped all over a pedestrian bridge in this central district of Prague.

HOHENZOLLERN BRIDGE, COLOGNE, GERMANY

This bridge over the Rhine emerged as a destination to declare one's love in 2009, with hundreds of thousands of padlocks now fixed to the metal structure.

NORTH SEOUL TOWER, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

The authorities were all behind this love initiative, creating seven artificial "love trees" on the terraces of the tower designed to carry the huge weight of thousands of padlocks. Tower operators even provided a bin, to prevent keys being thrown from the tower.

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