The late days of the leafblower era
But when will the nightmare end?
Leaf blowers running on gas are annoying and polluting. I have discussed the need to move on from fossil fuels previously. But what about the special annoyance of leaf blowers? As Dusty Miller wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2019:
“When the council crew come down with their two-stroke petrol versions, the smell drifts through our bedroom window like a pungent summer breeze made up of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Hours later, a slow-moving, noisy truck spurts exhaust as it trundles down to suck up the piled leaves as best it can. By then, of course, most of the leaves have blown back to the gutter.”
Progress may be on the horizon for people who want to move on from the blowers—or at least, the internal combustion type largely seen in use currently. Several cities are talking about banning them, including Seattle, and Oakland has already done it. In the best case scenario, municipalities and states around the country follow suit.
The awful smells and sounds of the things should probably be self-discrediting, but consider the excessive pollution: “About one-third of the gasoline that goes into this sort of engine is spewed out, unburned, in an aerosol mixed with oil in the exhaust.” As the move gets underway to electric vehicles, why should the leaf blower be left behind?
And even with electrification, they will be an annoying dust and allergen spreader. But that particular disruptive noise going away will be a welcome development.