CINCINNATI -- A trend that started in Paris and made its way to the Tri-State is now being called “pollution” and “vandalism.”
Scattered along the chain-link fence on the Purple People Bridge are padlocks with hearts engraved, names chiseled and dates sketched.
The trend, known as “Love locks” or love padlocks, originated in Paris, France in 2008 and has since become a popular symbol of love across the globe, according to Paris' website.
As a celebration of love, the act involves two people attaching a padlock with their initials to a bridge's rail and then throwing the keys into the river below -- a symbol of everlasting, locked love.
But the popularity of “Love Locks” is now straining Paris's Pont des Arts Bridge and the city’s relationship with its romantic visitors, prompting a campaign that seeks to outlaw the trend.
Co-Founders Lisa Anselmo and Lisa Taylor Huff said the Pont des Arts Bridge is groaning under the weight of 700,000 padlocks and is at risk of collapse.
"I understand that this is a modern expression of love and it's cool, but history should not be compromised," Anselmo told CNN. "It's almost painful to watch this vandalism."
Anselmo and Huff said the Pont des Arts, built in the 1800s, might not survive much longer unless authorities act. According to “No Love Locks” campaigners, the combined weight of the locks on the bridge is 93 metric tons -- roughly the same as 20 elephants standing on a bridge, which is designed for pedestrian traffic.
The two created a petition on Change.org to have the locks removed. As of Tuesday, the petition had almost 2,000 signatures.
"We just want to give back to the city we love and protect its heritage and beauty," Anselmo told CNN . "One lock is a poem. Hundreds of thousands are a conundrum."
The campaign also lists concerns that the keys thrown in the rivers below “Love Lock” bridges will add to pollution.
The Purple People Bridge that crosses over the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Newport is slowly but surely filling with these locks.
The bridge, which underwent a $4 million restoration project for pedestrian walking, is the longest connector bridge of its kind in the U.S. linking two states together.
As an up-and-coming phenomenon in Cincinnati, many have created Craigslist ads to endorse the growing trend on the bridge.
Love Locks Celebration of Love Photography offers photoshoots on the Purple People Bridge along with the sale of engraved locks.
The company’s ad reads, "Session includes a custom lock with your information engraved on it, up to an hour session including you and your beloved locking the lock, tossing the key, and several posed shots as well."
The Purple People Bridge has far less padlocks compared to Paris's Pont des Arts Bridge, but new locks are still spotted. So far, no petition has been created to stop “Love Locks” locally.
WCPO's Jane Andreasik contributed to this report