LETTER: Got the leaf blower blues

This contraption was wielded by a city worker intent on wrangling all of those pesky leaves into a pile.

Ah, autumn! A time for crisp air and contemplative walks. For peace and quiet … or not.

A few years ago, as I walked meditatively around the labyrinth at Lakeside Park enjoying a splendid fall day, my reverie was abruptly disturbed by the cacophony of a noisy leaf blower. This contraption was wielded by a city worker intent on wrangling all of those pesky leaves into a pile. More recently, my quiet reading time on our front balcony was shattered by the grating sounds of a neighbour’s noisy leaf blower.

Perhaps I’m just a cranky curmudgeon, but then again if you look at the facts, there are a number of good reasons to reconsider this machine. According to the Canadian Lung Association, leaf blowers can stir up lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in street dust. Exposure to these heavy metals can cause damage to humans, especially children. Gas-powered leaf blowers also generate more than 75 decibels of noise even at a distance of 16 metres away.

Not only are unprotected eardrums at risk, but studies have shown that loud noise causes stress and human bodies react by increasing adrenalin, thereby elevating heart rates and blood pressure.

Leaf blowers can also disturb plants by ripping off leaves and blowing away mulch from beneath shrubs and trees, depriving roots of nutrients.

Beneficial insects like ladybugs, spiders and ants can be killed. And, finally, according to the California Air Resource Board, the carbon monoxide emitted from a gas-powered leaf blower operating for half an hour is equal to that emitted by an average-sized car over 700 kilometres.

Once upon a time, human-powered rakes could be heard gently gathering autumn leaves. Let’s restore the rake to its rightful place. Out with the new, in with the old.

Dianne Harke

Nelson

Just Posted

MP Cannings’ long-awaited wood-use bill passes in House vote

The private member’s bill is his first to pass the House, a rare feat for rookie MPs in opposition

LETTER: Causing any species to go extinct is a crime

‘The earth is not dying. It is being killed’

COLUMN: A look back at May, 1968

Greg Scott: Touchstones of Nelson

L.V. Rogers grads shine spotlight on talent at annual fundraiser

Show set for Tuesday, May 29 at the Capitol Theatre

Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback to play Nelson

The duo will be at the Civic Theatre on May 31

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

Abbotsford high school teacher charged with sexual offences involving two youths

Henry Kang, 50, charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Toronto Raptors star to hold basketball camp in B.C.

DeMar DeRozan is hosting a four-day camp for players aged 6-16 at the University of Victoria

Kootenay writer wins national book prize

Full Curl by Dave Butler has won the 2018 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel.

Military college students accused of violating Qur’an with bacon

Alleged acts by four cadets from the Royal Military College in Quebec caught on video

Canucks sign top prospect Elias Pettersson to entry-level deal

Slick centre drafted No. 5 overall in 2017 NHL draft

Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps to 1,600 hectares overnight

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 1,600 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country’s strict ban on most abortions.

Lava from Hawaii volcano enters ocean from 3 flows

The Kilauea volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks.

Most Read