Sunday, January 13, 2008

Leaf Blowers

I could not agree more.

In this city of trees, where the tons of leafs getting blown around with everything else on the ground, creating the toxic stew floating in the air we breathe, it is time the noisy, noxious machines are banned, and I would gladly through in my battery powered one in the banning process.

Editorial: Going green? Ban gas-powered leaf blowers
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo says her No. 1 priority for Sacramento is "being green." In her State of the Downtown address she mentioned lots of possible action steps. But she missed a big one: banning gas-powered leaf blowers.

Sacramento should follow the lead of other California cities and pass a simple ordinance: "It shall be unlawful for any person, including any city employee, to operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surfaces within the city limits."

Leaf blowers are a noise nuisance, a high-pitched whine that makes concentration impossible for anybody nearby. They kick up dust that contains fertilizers, pesticides, animal feces, soil and allergens such as mold and pollen. A California Air Resources Board brochure about air pollution and particulate matter advises: "Avoid using leaf blowers."

The dust they spread is torture for people with asthma or other respiratory ailments – and a health threat to the gardeners who wield them. A gasoline-powered leaf blower generates as much tailpipe emissions in one hour in a concentrated area as a car does over 350 miles.

And they're unnecessary. In three tests conducted by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power in 1998 involving gas-powered leaf blowers and battery-powered leaf blowers, it turned out that a rake and broom wielded by a 50-year-old grandmother were as mighty as leaf blowers. They were also faster and cleaner.

Many California cities, including Los Angeles, ban gas-powered leaf blowers. If Sacramento is serious about "being green," it should join them. While the industry might squawk, Sacramentans will be eternally grateful.