This weekend marked the Hotaru Festival in Tokyo, an event on the Sumida River dedicated to making the city more beautiful. One of the main events was a fluvial parade of 100,000 floating LEDs, charged with solar power and designed to mimic fireflies in their natural setting.
The effect was beautiful, but, like similar art projects, it raises the question of e-waste, but on a massive scale. CNet reports that the three inch lights were collected with nets downstream from the festival, so at least they weren't just dumped into Tokyo Bay. But what will be done with them?The festival's Web site calls the event "a new hydrophilic symbiotic life, of the river and the environment" (Google translation), but makes no mention of its impact on the environment is supposedly represents. Of course, it's quite possible that the LEDs were recycled or put to other uses; I certainly hope they were. It would be a shame to use them for such a nice project, then allow them to end up in a dump.