St. Paul politicians are keen to address climate change. The city is not ahead in one policy area, however: allowing the sale and use of gas-powered leaf blowers.
Washington, D.C., banned gas-powered leaf blowers from its streets in 2022. D.C. City Council approved the ban in 2018. “It’s time to phase out the use of these noisy, polluting leaf blowers,” Mary Cheh (D.C. Councilmember) was quoted the council’s approval of the bill in 2018.
It is the right time. This is becoming more evident in all areas. Last December, regulators from the State of California voters approve banThe sale of gas-powered landscaping equipment, including leaf-blowers will begin in 2024. In the same month, county commissioners in Multnomah County — home to Portland, OR. — also A plan was adopted to phase outGas-powered leaf blowers are recommended.
However, St. Paul has been quite quiet. The city has no restrictions on leaf blower use. However, there is a noise-related ban that prevents the use these ear-splitting device between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. These machines emit powerful amounts of carbon and other harmful chemicals. The city is making a grave error by failing to ban and phase-out gas-powered leaf blowers.
St. Paul has pledged that they will achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. They’ve Big policy movesLarge investments in green infrastructure and public transport are required to get there. But the city’s environmental efforts seem to have mistakenly ignored gas-powered leaf blowers. All across the country, leaf blowers and other gas-powered lawn mowers are very common. Tools Create12% of all carbon dioxide emitted. A few years ago, the California Air Resources BoardAccording to projections in 2020, gas-powered leaf-blowers will emit more ozone pollution than all other cars in California. Leaf blowers are high-capacity carbon-spewing machines.
Handheld leaf blowers can be extremely dangerous because they release toxic substances from their engines. Reports FromAccording to the Environmental Protection Agency, a gas-powered lawn is better than a grass-powered one. Garden Equipment, including leaf blowers, can release hazardous particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. These include benzene and acetaldehyde.
“If we’re using [leaf blowers] for a long time, cause you’re right over top of it, you can tell. You can get headaches and that kind of thing,”Michael Frazier, Macalester’s chief grounds person, said.
These toxins released by these machines’ small engines lead to long-term health problems. These toxins can cause long-term health problems, according to sources. These are the views of anti-leaf fanaticsWorkers in Portland, Oregon are exposed to carcinogenic toxins that can cause respiratory problems. They can also cause damage to the hearing. Workers should not be allowed to use poisonous machinery. This is against worker safety and protection.
Electric-powered equipment is the answer. This reduces carbon emissions and toxic fumes as well as excessive noise. In the summer of 2020, Macalester’s grounds crew took advantage of a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency grantsTo replace approximately half of their lawn equipment with electric-powered models. The grant covered half the cost of purchasing new electric equipment tools.
As Macalester has learned, moving to electric leaf-blowers isn’t a perfect option; some trade-offs are involved.
“The only fallback is the power. Most of the stuff is fine, but it’s the backpack blower that kind of suffers. It just doesn’t have the power that the gas does,” Frazier said. But this isn’t a permanent state of affairs: “With that being said, it’s early, too. This stuff is all pretty new to us, and new to the industry.”
This technology will only get better. As Atlantic journalist James Fallows reportsBattery technology has seen steady improvements over the past two decades.
This trend should continue as the market for leaf blowers that have clean blades continues to grow.
Every investment in electrifying leaf blowers will make a significant contribution to reducing emissions in our community. However, waiting for private actors to make sufficient transitions on their own, is a fool’s task. Private landscaping companies will electrify their clients’ yards because the cost of switching to electric leaf-blowers upfront can be prohibitive and may make it less efficient for yard work. ToolsToo slow. Under the pressures of the marketplace, it will be hard for landscapers and yard workers to bear the costs of electrification while their competitors don’t have to.
This is where St. Paul’s influence can be significant. We should follow other jurisdictions’ lead and eliminate leaf blowers. This can be a sensible, uncontroversial policy. We don’t need an immediate ban — we can do as other jurisdictions have, and give yard workers time to switch their equipment. We don’t have to force companies to bear all the costs of this change, which generates publicly shared benefits — we can maintain the Minnesota state grant program that Macalester utilized, which has More than 100 companies have been supportedSwitch to electric lawnmowers
Every year, leaf blowers cause us to produce more carbon and are causing harm to our workers. There are many things that we can do to stop gas-powered leaf blowers. But we can’t afford to do nothing.