Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Outlaw Leaf Blowers

Leaf blowers should be banned, in my opinion. They’re vile, they’re noisy, and they emit greenhouse gases for a purpose that is frivolous at best. Considering the emerging climate crisis, you could argue that using gasoline to clear your lawn of leaves is even immoral. But I didn’t realize until I read this story, in today’s Greenwich Time, that a lot of communities – including several along Long Island Sound – have already banned leaf blowers, at least for half the year:

Cities such as Houston and Toronto, several Long Island towns, nearby municipalities in Westchester County, N.Y., such as Rye, Mamaroneck, Larchmont and New Rochelle, and Farmington and Mansfield all have instituted summer time bans on leaf blowers…

The context is an attempt by residents of Greenwich to persuade the town’s Board of Health to ban leaf blowers from May through September. The Board of Health refused, arguing that it was a matter for elected officials rather than a health issue. The town residents say they will pull together information to bolster their argument that it is a health issue and then return to the Board of Health. I hope they succeed and if they don’t, I hope they push a ban through the Board of Selectmen and the Representative Town Meeting.

Ban the leaf blowers!


Blogger Sam said...

As your mobile source clean air man, let me tell you a story about small portable equipment such as leaf blowers.

Basically, liquid gasoline is used to help cool the combustion process, so hydrocarbon emissions can be as high as a 1968 car. Honest.

Faced with the prospect of regulating lawn & garden equipment, the lobby has resisted any efforts to mandate exhaust catalysts that could reduce hydrocarbon emissions by about 95%.

Only the US EPA and California can regulate such lawn blower equipment, so many communities have gone after noise, in terms of decibels. 120 sounds about right, I mean bad!

Greenouse gases? CO2 is a function of fuel burned, which in this case is what, a few cups at a time? The fact is that about half the gaoline used in these puppies goes completely unburned.

-Sam Wells, Consultant

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from the noise, aside from the burning of fossil fuels to do what can be done in about 150% of the time with a broom or rake (and eventually must be picked up with one of those anyway), aside from the unappealing look of a cloud of dust, I am against leaf blowers for another reason now.

A few minutes ago, my wife and I came home from a walk around our nice suburban neighborhood with our newborn baby girl. A nice family moment that would've only been interrupted momentarily by the noise and dust kicked up by a leaf blower.

But in this case, we noticed that a powdery manure had just been spread around the lawn and sidewalk area of the homes on the street we were walking. It only smelled bad, which didn't bother us, until the leaf blower was seen *blowing the manure off the sidewalk and into the air*. This was a cloud of foul-smelling fecal matter, being aerated for everyone to inhale.

This brings up the point I'm trying to make: if leaf blowers are used (abused) regularly and without care, what's to stop the average fertilizer, errant bird/pest/pet feces or other harmful pollutants present in lawn care and on the average sidewalk or walkway from being kicked up into the air? To me, leaf blowers are no longer just a filthy nuisance or silly symtom of comsumerist lazy-thinking. They represent one of the worst ideas in maintenance in the modern world.

I'm convinced that once this particular danger is brought to wide public attention, and medical science has a chance to weigh in, the leaf blower *will* be outlawed. It's just a shame we will have to wait until the leaf blower is proven guilty.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with the others contributing to this blog. Leafblowers should be banned for their contributions to noise pollution, dust pollution, CO2 pollution and perhaps even their contributions to obesity. My one fear in banning them is that this may cause even more suburbanites to cut down their trees to avoid raking. How do we solve this problem? If we somehow are able to ban blowers, how do we then convince the average homeowner to then get outside and rake the lawn? What about an elderly person who is unable to rake and pehaps unable to afford a lawn service? What do you tell the immigrant worker? "Sorry, you'll have to pick up a rake. I know it will 50% longer and you won't be able to get those pesky little leaves that slip through the rake tines, and you therefore won't make as much money today, but sorry."

9:55 PM  
Anonymous north stamford gardener said...

It took me half the time to rake our slate patio compared to what it took our landscaper (land-raper is more like it) to blow it. If our obese society would get their butts outdoors and get some exercise doing their own lawn work....grab your chubby kids and make a day of it! ....and if your neighbor is elderly how about being a good neighbor and having your kid rake theirs too.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Roxana Usner Project Manager said...

I agree that when creating legislation to ban leaf blowers, that the reason for the ban will be key. If not, the market will only create a lawn vacuum or other replacement that does not filter the fecal and chemical matter dispersed into our breathing air.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sitting here listening to them as I type. I can count that two days per week for hours, as I live in a large townhome complex, these leaf blowers are in operation. I live in Dallas Texas where it is usually very windy and I have witnessed countless acts of leaf blowers doing nothing more than reblowing the continually reblown leaves.

They are also a danger to drivers as the leaf blowers do their work they are out in and on the roads and streets. Due to the volumn of noise they can not hear approaching cars I have had to swerve to miss hitting a few as they walked directly into the road without even looking. Today, I was almost involved in a multi vehicle accident involving leaf blowers out on an extremely busy three lane city street in morning rush hour oblivious to the fact that the grass cuttings in the road were doing far less harm than the confusion the leaf blowers were creating trying to get the cuttings off the road to begin with!

Don't even get me going on the waste of gas and pollution factors I am the mother of an extreme asthmatic who has to deal everyday with air quality factors and how much meds I have to give my son. OUTLAW these leaf blowers NOW!

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Chair Education Committee said...

Medical science HAS proven the dangers of pollution distributed into the air by all "leaf" dirt-blowers (thence deep into your lungs, then bloodstream, then heart). Public opinion HAS been expressed against their use. It takes even a small, dedicated group to make a change. See www.quietorinda.com for recent action. The California ARB says that pollution can drift for up to three days for each blower use! You breathe all year long. Why settle for only seasonal bans? Ten year old studies are still valid today, and supported by the December 2009 EPA report on air pollution. See www.zapla.org Health section, and letters in the Presentation Materials.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a resident of Toronto. The city came close to banning it but bowed at the last minute under pressure. I have written letters to City Council and included a tape of the noise emitted from a group of leaf blowers from the condominium building adjacent to me. I keep getting the run around, each department saying it is under the jurisdiction of another department. I have environmental allergies and sensitivity to noise, and suffer tremendously with these noisy, toxic machines until well into the fall or winter.
If anybody would like to organize a movement for banning leaf blowers I would be happy to coordinate the task.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noise polluters, air polluters , rakes and brooms were and are just as effective. It is so ridiculous wearing that motor on your back in some cases wearing ear plugs to blow yard clippings into the air or road , sweep rake its calming, quiet and clean.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amen, amen and amen. How can we get this done!!

4:06 PM  

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