The End Of Gas Powered Leaf Blowers is Nigh.

Gas-powered leaf blowers face a moment of reckoning

 Senior Editor YAHOO News

February 3, 2022·5 min read

leafblowerMCALTADENA, Calif. — With the Omicron variant of the coronavirus still circulating, six friends gathered last Saturday for an outdoor brunch on the patio of a house in Los Angeles County. But as the meal got underway, a steady roar from a gas-powered leaf blower, like a hair dryer on steroids, drew closer from across a fence line, drowning out the conversation.

“The leaf blower is a truly vile invention,” one of the guests, Geoff Dyer, a writer and visiting professor at the University of Southern California, said over the noise, “a major setback to the progress of civilization.”

Dyer is not alone in that view, and neighboring Pasadena is one of dozens of California cities that enacted restrictions on the use of leaf blowers over the last decade. The outcry over the ubiquitous devices grew so loud, in fact, that in October, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will mean the end of the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers in the state.

But addressing the noise pollution they cause wasn't the main reason behind the legislation. Small off-road engines, or SOREs, are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, causing spikes in asthma in workers who operate them.

“Today, operating the best-selling commercial lawn mower for one hour emits as much smog-forming pollution as driving the best-selling 2017 passenger car, a Toyota Camry, about 300 miles — approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas,” the California Air Resources Board said in a recent fact sheet. “For the best-selling commercial leaf blower, one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a 2017 Toyota Camry about 1,100 miles, or approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Denver."

With California looking to take the lead on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, the new law mandates that all SOREs used in the state starting in 2024 be zero-emission, and the state Legislature has set aside $30 million to help aid landscapers and gardeners in that transition.

“It’s amazing how people react when they learn how much this equipment pollutes, and how much smog-forming and climate-changing emissions that small off-road engine equipment creates,” Assembly Member Marc Berman, the author of the legislation, told the Los Angeles Times. “This is a pretty modest approach to try to limit the massive amounts of pollution that this equipment emits, not to mention the health impact on the workers who are using it constantly.”

While considered a scourge by many Americans, leaf blowers do have one big advantage over rakes: they reduce the time it takes to do yard work.



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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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