On Monday, the city of Los Angeles released 150 million pairs of aviator sunglasses into the Los Angeles reservoir. The sunglasses, provided through a $500 million partnership with Ray Ban, will help to reduce upwards of 300 million gallons of water lost to evaporation every year. Evaporation, alongside human consumption, is one of the leading causal factors for the California water crisis.
The reservoir, which holds up to 3.3 billion gallons of water, was assessed by the city methodically. At first, the city decided to implement an enormous pool cover over the entirety of the surface. However, the initial roll-out proved to be harder than expected as hundreds of city officials found themselves trapped underneath it when a gust of wind blew one of the edges over.
According to General Manager, Peter Bludenzo, from the LA Department of Water & Power, “It all came down to common sense really. People use sunglasses everyday so we already know they’re consumer approved, reliable, and effective in blocking out the harmful UV rays of the sun. In addition, their shape, size, and weight provide the perfect buoyancy to float along the surface level of the water.” When questioned about the potential negative effects they may have on the environment, the rep joked, “The only thing we may have to worry about is more stylish looking marine life.”
Connected together by small pocket watch chains, the aviators create an impenetrable sun-shield along the the surface of the 175-acre reservoir. To meet requirements issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the city agreed to use 58mm pilot-shaped polycarbonate frames with polarized NXT polyurethane lenses rather than the originally preferred plastic and plastic. The material used will not only allow light to reflect off the service of the lenses more easily, but also provide scratch and impact resistance. The sunglasses are estimated to last anywhere between 9-10 years depending on the severity of UV levels.
Through an exhausting 2-year test period, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, assessed and tried on every type of frame, lens, and brand himself before making an official decision. “The water crisis is serious and we wanted to make sure this thing got done right. It’ll be 300 million gallons saved to help fight this drought. Sometimes a little ingenuity and creativity can go a long way” said the Mayor behind a pair of light blue gradient G-15’s.