If I were a mayor, I would place a permanent ban on gas powered leaf blowers. People everywhere take pride in their lawns and gardens, but Westchester residents in particular hire lawn-care companies who often use a tool that does more harm than good: gas powered leaf blowers. Although a useful machine for blowing the last few leaves off a lawn, gas powered leaf blowers are a nuisance to neighbors, pollute the environment and have serious health effects. Our health, and the future of our world, is more important than a few perfectly manicured lawns.
People come to Pelham for many reasons, including a sense of peacefulness that can’t be gained from city life. Leaf blowers constantly interrupt this peacefulness. They can make it hard for children to play outside, since there is a danger that a leaf blower will blow something into their eyes, or the noise can hurt their ears. In fact, leaf blowers are shown to contribute to hearing loss. The noise can become a nuisance to adults as well. But the noise isn’t what makes leaf blowers so dangerous—it’s the release of carbon monoxide. The amount of carbon monoxide gas blowers release in one hour is “…equal to the amount coming from the tailpipe of a current year automobile running for over eight hours “ (https://www.dec.ny.gov). Not only do they release eight times more pollutants than an automobile, leaf blowers deposit all the carbon monoxide in one yard instead of over a larger area. Gas-powered leaf blowers also contribute to smog and acid rain. The chemicals they release don’t just harm the environment they harm people too-contributing to conditions like cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma and premature death. The noise can also cause hypertension, learning problems, and other stress-related health conditions.
One of the reasons I would ban leaf blowers if I were a mayor is that it is a problem that is relatively simple to solve. Contrary to popular belief, there are other ways to get leaves off a lawn instead of raking (although a bit of exercise couldn’t hurt people). Cordless electric leaf blowers will not completely eliminate greenhouse gases, since the electricity comes from a power plant and more than 80 percent of our electricity comes from fossil fuels. However, they would significantly help. Power plants are “…equipped with scrubbers to filter out pollutants, the kind of technology that could never be attached to a hand-held leaf blower” (https://www.washingtonpost.com). Electric (or battery) leaf blowers would also considerably help reduce the damaging health effects of air pollutants.
If I were a mayor I would permanently ban gas-powered leaf blowers from Pelham. For too long people have taken advantage of little luxuries, paying attention only to convenience and not looking at the bigger picture. It’s time to realize that seemingly little actions can affect the world in a big way. Banning leaf blowers is one small step to solving some of our largest problems.
“First in the Nation: The MSSNY’s Gas Leaf Blower Resolution.” quietcommunities.org, 3 May 2016, www.quietcommunities.org/resolution-gas-leaf-blowers/. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.
“Health Hazards of Leaf Blowers.” GreenwichCALM.org, 1 Apr. 2011, www.greenwichcalm.org/apps/blog/entries/show/6583443-health-hazards-of-leaf-blowers. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.
Keysen, Ronda. “On Banning Leaf Blowers.” The New York Times [New York City], Real Estate sec., www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/realestate/on-banning-on-leaf-blowers.html. Accessed 17 Mar. 2018.
“Leaf Blowers.” Department of Environmental Conservation, 29 Apr. 2016, www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/109428.html. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.
Palmer, Brian. “How Bad for the Environment Are Gas Powered Leaf Blowers.” The Washington Post [Washington D.C], 16 Sept. 2013, Health/Science sec., www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/how-bad-for-the-environment-are-gas-powered-leaf-blowers/2013/09/16/8eed7b9a-18bb-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html?utm_term=.e9e2f2a9283f. Accessed 30 Oct. 2018.
Editor’s note: Eighth grader Adina Sasson won second place in the New York Conference of Mayors’ “If I Were Mayor” contest with this essay.