Leaf blowers turn over a new leaf

June 28, 2007

blowers.jpgIf the annoying sound of a leaf blower isn’t enough to put you off this gardening tool, maybe the choking pollution is. In one year, the average blower used by a professional gardener emits as much smog-forming pollution as 80 new cars, each driven 12,500 miles.

That startling figure comes from California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), which is offering a leaf blower exchange program to get 1,500 old high-polluting backpack leaf blowers off of Southern California’s streets.

In various cities in July, gardeners and landscapers can get a new, low-polluting blower manufactured by Stihl and valued at $470 for $200. Exchanging 1,500 older blowsmog.jpgers will reduce nearly 14 tons of smog-forming pollution a year.

AQMD, the air pollution agency for these parts, already has tackled lawn mowers and exchanged more than 16,000 gas-powered motors for zero-emitting electric models since 2003.

Every little bit helps in car-crazy southern California. It is less smoggy than a few decades ago, I am told, but still it’s hard to see the San Gabriel Mountains today from downtown Los Angeles, just 10 miles apart.


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I live in Houston, and since the hurricane it has been crazy with power tools, power equipment, and leaf blowers. I’m very glad that the landscaping service company we use uses electric models rather than gas.

Posted by I Love Power Equipment | Report as abusive

I doubt that’s such a big problem, especially since these new ones are less polluting and way less noisy than the older ones.

Electric models are OK too, but if you need power to clear heavy debriefs and mobility, you will still have to go for the gas powered ones

Posted by Gas blower fan | Report as abusive

There are alternatives to these noisy, smog producing (In many cases), animal feces spewing, spore spewing and possibly bacteria spewing machines. The alternative is a vacuum device that is offered by some other manufacturers. They are a little more expensive and make the job a little longer, but at least an innocent passerby is not subjected to the exhaust of these perfect examples of how to spew those vile things into the air that you shouldn’t breath. No wonder you see some of the operatives of these devices wearing masks (even the electric ones).

Posted by dalmos | Report as abusive