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Avoid a Dust-Up: Use a Rake!
May 2009 | Betty Wheeler, Seaview

 

DID YOU KNOW? The use of leaf blowers is unlawful in Del Mar.
- The noise of just one leaf blower can shatter a neighborhood’s peace and quiet.
- Hour-for-hour, a gas-powered blower’s pollution can equal the smog of 17 cars.
- Both gas and electric leaf blowers throw into the air small size particulate matter (PM) rich with pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, spores, molds, dust and fecal matter; it takes hours for this PM to settle. Young children, people with asthma or other respiratory problems, and the elderly are particularly put at risk.

Humorist Dave Barry identified leaf blowers as the ideal “guy tool” because “they have engines, they’re loud, and they enable you to blast debris, ray-gun-style, from one place to another without having to actually pick it up.”

Ray-gun fantasies aside, leaf blowers are hard to defend. The noise of one leaf blower can shatter a neighborhood’s peace and quiet. Neighborhood air quality is also impaired. A gas-powered blower generates outsized toxic exhaust fumes and emissions; hour-for-hour, its pollution can equal the smog of 17 cars. Moreover, the high-velocity air jets from both gas- and electric-powered blowers throw small size particulate matter into the air, rich with pesticides, chemicals, fertilizers, spores, molds, dust and fecal matter. It can take hours for the particulate matter to settle, and while no one’s lungs are benefited, young children, people with asthma or other respiratory problems, and the elderly are particularly at risk from this pollution.

Fortunately for our ears, lungs, and tranquility, it is unlawful to use leaf blowers, whether gas or electric, in Del Mar (Municipal Code section 9.20.090). To help ensure compliance, you can hand the violator a “No leaf blowing in the City of Del Mar” card, available from City Hall, or call the City at 858-755-9313 for help with persistent violations. If you use gardening or landscape services, make sure they know to reach for a rake instead of a leaf blower. It’s the Del Mar way!

   
 

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