Banning gas-powered blowers makes cities healthier places

Our neighborhood trees are beginning to display their beautiful fall colors. The shortened daylight and cooler temperatures are some of the factors that control autumn coloration.

But an abundance of leaves brings a chorus of gas-powered leaf blowers usually heard on most Curtis Park residential streets. The city allows leaf blowers from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Some 20 California cities have gone so far as to ban any type of gas, electric or battery-powered leaf blowers – some since 1976.

Why is Sacramento so entrenched in allowing the use of gas-powered leaf blowers? Studies indicate they pollute the air with their emissions. The newer models do not pollute as much due to federal EPA regulations. However, the engine releases 100 percent of its tailpipe emissions.

Leaf blowers worsen allergies and asthma, and irritate the lungs by propelling into the air clouds of dust, dirt and toxic chemicals that may have been applied to lawns. Week by week, the blowers slowly remove all the beneficial organic mulch placed around trees and landscape beds.

Gas-powered leaf blowers disrupt neighborhood tranquility. They operate at wind speeds up to 170 mph, which stir up molds, allergens and dust tamped down by water and decomposition. Gas-powered blower noise levels on the new models are between 64-107 decibels. A jet takeoff is 100 decibels and any sound above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

What are the alternatives?

The preferred method is to rake or sweep leaves and debris. Another choice is using an electric leaf blower or electric leaf vacuum; they’re not as noisy and don’t pollute.

Critics claim that leaf blower bans will cause landscape companies to go out of business. However, in cities that have banned gas-powered leaf blowers, the local gardeners were not driven out of business.

This past summer, Sacramento experienced 19 Spare the Air days, the most since 2002. This has prompted City Council to explore banning the use of leaf blowers on Spare the Air Days.

Let’s make our neighborhood a more peaceful, healthier place by not using gas powered leaf blowers.


Image credit Flickr: Army Of Gardeners, Author Peter Dutton



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