By Dave Price
Daily Post Editor
The days of the leaf blower are numbered.
Atherton has banned gas-powered blowers effective July 1, 2024. In Menlo Park, the Environmental Quality Commission has also recommended such a ban to City Council.
July 1, 2024 is also the date that a bill by Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, banning the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers goes into effect.
When Berman’s bill was passed, critics pointed out that gardeners could drive to Oregon, Nevada or Arizona and buy leaf blowers and lawn mowers, and bring them here.
But a ban on their use, such as the one passed in Atherton and proposed in Menlo Park, spells the end of gas-powered lawn equipment.
For me, the issue isn’t climate change. The amount of greenhouse gases a leaf blower produces is laughable compared to the emissions of a coal-fired power plant in China. And they build one about once a week.
No, the real issue is the noise. It’s loud and it carries for a long distance. It can contribute to tinnitus, hypertension, and stress (which leads to annoyance and disturbed sleep), according to a May 6 article in zmescience.com.
The noise is so loud that if you live next door, you can’t make a phone call. If you’re trying to sleep during the day, a leaf blower will certainly stop that. The decibel level of a leaf blower is close to what a jet aircraft would produce taking off.
In this respect, electric leaf blowers aren’t much better than the gas ones.
One way or the other, I believe leaf blowers will soon be in the past. Other cities will take the lead of Atherton.
For gardeners, there’s always a rake. And if you’re trying to make a living as a gardener, point out that you should be paid more because raking takes more time than leaf blowing.
Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is [email protected].