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WTF? Leaf Blowers Are So Annoying!!

And Really Bad for Your Health

Every Wednesday morning, I wake up, make a cup of tea, and I sit down to work.  (Okay, I read the news/facebook/twitter and THEN I work.  But you get the point.)  However, the second I pull up the day’s assignments, the inevitable happens.  A helicopter from hell lands on my rooftop, forcing me to tear around the apartment slamming down windows.  Alright, maybe it’s just the neighbor’s gardener wielding a leaf blower under my window.  But noise pollution has a scale that starts at “really annoying” and ends at “Fox News annoying.”  So isn’t it all the same?

So maybe you don’t have as big a beef with leaf blowers.  If you’re one of those people, then maybe you can explain to me their point (aka allow me to continue to complain about this pet peeve of mine).  Because all I can see when I look outside is a poor soul attached to the end of the loud, screeching machine that is blowing dust and leaves in his face.  Usually, this gardener isn’t wearing ear protection, even though most gas-leaf blowers operate at 70-75 decibels.

And where exactly are the leaves going?  Sometimes, they get blown into a pile and bagged into a plastic bag, accounting for the 20% of all landfill waste that is lawn clippings.  Or they just get blown back into the street.  Where they are eventually blown back into the freshly-gardened lawn.  It’s a like a gardening catch-22.

And here’s more fuel for the fire:

-Sources report that gas-powered blowers emit as much pollution in an hour as a car if it drove 100 miles.

-And they also lower local air-quality, exacerbating the conditions of asthmatics and others with breathing challenges, and those with cardio-pulmonary problems, according to the Los Angeles chapter of the Amercian Lung Society.

-Furthermore, and I’m bringing you this one verbatim, “pollen, feces, and other dust particles as well as particularly dangerous substances like lead, organic carbon, chromium, arsenic, cadmium, nickel and mercury which accumulate along street curbs are blown into the air where they are inhaled by pedestrians.”

-Finally, in the United States alone, they emit more than 2.6 million tons of carbon-dioxide annually.  They also burn enough fuel to fill 6.4 million oil barrels.

So what’s being done out there to curb leaf blowers?  Well, for starters, there is legislation across the nation to stop them.  From California to Houston to New York to Boston, laws have been introduced and passed to stop the noise/air polluters.  But activism starts at home.  So here are our tips to help you help us stamp out leaf blowers:

First, there’s raking.  Look into it.  It’s great exercise.  A Los Angeles grandmother, Diane Wolfberg, recently conducted a raking versus leaf blowers study sponsored by the LA Department of Water and Power.  She found that she could clean an area using a rake and broom almost as quickly as lawn professionals using leaf blowers.  And did I mention that she was a grandmother?

Then there’s the electric-powered mower.  Most of them come with an attached bag that will collect your lawn clippings.  Yes, they still have batteries which will end up in a landfill, but let’s deal with the lesser of two evils.  The Nueton Battery Lawn Mower is a great option.   There’s also the push-reel Brill Razorcut 38 Mower Package with an attachable grass collector.  Lawn sweepers pick up lawn waste silently, and they are pollution free.  They also don’t send dust particles flying through the air.  And finally, if you already have a leaf blower, check into the vacuum switch.  If you also have that option, it is almost 70% quieter and you can make sure the clippings are composted.

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