May 5, 2021

Move to Battery-Powered Leaf Blowers Needs to Be Accompanied By Noise Level Standard

To the Editor:

As the poet once said, spring is sprung — the birdies sing, the air is fresh, the sun is at last warming fast. Well, a nice thought. In today’s world, spring also marks the return of deafening noise and stinky, unhealthy emissions that go with lawn care.

We all understand that one wants a pleasant and tranquil way of enjoying one’s property. Caring for our yards is always going to be a necessary thing. However, we need an ordinance aimed at improving our environment by ensuring that lawn care becomes quieter and cleaner.

As has been recorded many times before, the back-pack two-stroke leaf blower produces noise and benzine-soaked fumes way out of proportion to its size. There is also a great deal of inappropriate use and it has become year-round. They are routinely observed roaring away moving minor bits of debris (grass clippings, twigs, street garbage) into a neat pile. Often this kind of clearing simply blows clouds of dirt and dust into the atmosphere. The job could be done faster and cleaner with a broom and a shovel.

Note too, industrial sized mowers, better suited to lawns on huge acres of corporate campuses, are routinely used on the quarter to half acre lots of most of the homes in our town. On the face of it, the four-stroke engine typical of these machines is “cleaner,” even less noisy. But their size alone guarantees increased noise and emissions compared to more appropriately sized push mowers. Industrial mowers need to be included in any ordinance

The largely agreed upon answer to the problem is to go electric, which unquestionably kills emissions. Noise is a more murky proposition. I myself own an electric leaf blower which I have not used in years, because its high-pitched whine is near as bad as the noise from a two-stroke blower. A move to cordless battery-powered machines must be accompanied by a noise level standard.

Robert Hebditch
Hickory Court