Gas powered leaf blowers are a plague. Their two-stroke engines produce more climate changing gases than a fleet of cars and their noise is damaging to the ears of both residents and the people that operate them.
For the best-selling commercial leaf blower, one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a 2017 Toyota Camry about 1100 miles. That’s like driving from Seattle to Pheonix or Bismark. [CA Air Resources Board]
The loudness of GLB sound at point of operation is especially concerning for the auditory and non-auditory health of workers and others regularly exposed in close proximity. [NIH Study]
Over 171 jurisdictions in 31 states have some type of restriction on the use of leaf blowers. Over 40 of those jurisdictions have banned the use of gas-powered leaf blowers altogether. Burlington, VT, Washington D.C., Portland, OR, and all of California have, or will in the next two years, ban gas blowers. Seattle is working on a ban.
The Kirkland City Council is considering taking action on this issue. if you live in Kirkland your voice will matter to them. If you don’t, they will probably just ignore you. You should lean on the city in which you live!
There are equity issues to consider in pursuing a sane policy, but they should not block or delay a ban. Please hold your city council responsible for taking action.
For more info you can watch this short (3 minute) video from The Atlantic Monthly, one of the best magazines of the past century.
I recognize that the noise gas leaf blowers produce is a first-world problem. The climate changing emissions they produce affects all of us.
Members of the city council:
Toby Nixon <TNixon@kirklandwa.gov>;
Jay Arnold <JArnold@kirklandwa.gov>;
Neal Black <NBlack@kirklandwa.gov>;
Kelli Curtis <KCurtis@kirklandwa.gov>;
Amy Falcone <email@example.com>;
Jon Pascal <JPascal@kirklandwa.gov>;
Penny Sweet <PSweet@kirklandwa.gov>
They need to hear from you!
NIH Study citation: Walker E, Banks JL. Characteristics of Lawn and Garden Equipment Sound: A Community Pilot Study. J Environ Toxicol Stud. 2017 Dec;1(1):10.16966/2576-6430.106. doi: 10.16966/2576-6430.106. Epub 2017 Nov 3. PMID: 31448365; PMCID: PMC6707732.