KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Every Valentine's Day, hundreds of couples lock up their love on the Old Red Bridge in south Kansas City, but there are growing concerns the tradition could be polluting the Blue River.
Recently, city workers installed two boxes along the bridge for couples can donate the keys instead of tossing them into the water. The keys will eventually be melted into a monarch butterfly sculpture.
The organization Monarchs on the Move and Heartland Conservation Alliance both worked with Kansas City Parks and Recreation to come up with a solution. They say the Blue River crosses through all of Kansas City before flowing into the Missouri River. They worry the pollution from the 2,000 to 5,000 keys already in the Blue River could cause a problem for the fish and aquatic life.
"We have a lot of Kansas Citians not taking care of the Blue River," Monarchs on the Move founder April Heim said. "So we want to work together to address those issues and help people understand that we don't want to throw anything into the Blue River."
The tradition started in 2013 when couples started attaching locks to the old red bridge. The plan is to work on the sculpture over time as continue to collect keys.