If leaf blowers weren't the bane of my existence before a demonstration for the San Mateo City Council Jan. 22, they certainly are now. They've risen from second position (in first position are the garbage trucks that park beneath my bedroom window six mornings every week) to now being the clear winner. The tipping point? My nose.
Last week, at the demonstration, I watched and listened to roughly seven different leaf blowers in action. There were five or so gas-powered blowers, one lithium battery-powered blower and one gas-powered leaf vacuum. All were extremely loud and all but the lithium model spewed smelly plumes of toxic emissions including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates. In addition to the shrill of its gas-powered motor, the leaf vacuum enhanced the experience with an ear-piercing crackling cacophony of debris swirling through its shaft. Imagine the sound of your vacuum cleaner sucking up pennies, paper clips and hairpins