Friday, March 14, 2008

Not In My Backyard, please!

Despite myself, I would like these damn things to be illegal. Normally, I want nothing to do with legislating people's general behavior. But this? This goes too far? How lazy ARE you?!?!

Leaf blowers. I hates them.
I rarely saw them for the past decade because there weren't very many leaves to blow around in San Francisco. In Mountain View, they are every-damn-where.

I walk to work fairly frequently, and I see a lot of these. We see them on the weekends. We hear them all the time. I can't tell you how many times I've watched some lazy jerk chasing a single leaf around a yard with one of these things.

PLEASE. STOP. There is this new thing out now, that is like a leaf blower, but it's quiet, doesn't pollute, and you also get some exercise. I think it's called a "rake," or something.

Actually, if they marketed rakes on the infomercial channel as wonder-weight-loss machines, we might get somewhere on this.

Given that these things are omg noisy, omg pollutey*, and the fact that we all need the exercise, what can we do to get rid of them? I do not like legislating what people do, but this is ridiculous and harmful. There is no upside to leaf blowers!

* A 2000 report by the California EPA determined that the average residential leaf blower produces 145 times more hydrocarbons, 7.5 times more carbon monoxide, and 11 times more particulate matter in one hour than a 1999-2000 light duty vehicle driven at 30 mph, getting 15 miles to the gallon. The hydrocarbon emissions produced from one-half hour of residential leaf blower operation are equal to the emissions produced from driving 2200 miles, comparable to a round trip from Denver to San Diego. Commercial leaf blowers with more horse power are even more polluting.

Pollution from dust and debris is also a significant issue. Leaf blowers' powerful engine jets have the unintended consequence of disturbing and suspending smaller particulate matter such as dust, fecal matter, pesticides, fungi, chemicals, fertilizers, spores, and street dirt that consists of lead and organic and elemental carbon, according to the California EPA.

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