It is very heartening to read that Sag Harbor Village is seriously contemplating a partial ban on gas-fired leaf blowers [“Village Considers a Leaf Blower Ban,” January 16]. In addition to their assault on the rights of residents for peace and quiet in their own homes, and the issue of noise pollution, leaf blowers are very damaging to our environment in numerous ways.
According to the Sierra Club, gas leaf blowers disrupt the ecology of your property and all of its species by kicking up fungal spores, insect eggs, mold, animal excrement, fertilizer and heavy metals. This can have family health implications as well, especially for people with respiratory conditions. Exposure to particulate matter has been linked to many serious diseases; the particulates raised by gas leaf blowers can take hours, if not days, to settle.
Birds and other wildlife trying to survive amid human populations are impacted adversely by this obsession with leaf blowers. Nesting birds and their young are dramatically disrupted by the powerful blowers, at a time in our history when bird fatalities have been found to be astronomical.
Many native plant species also are damaged by these blowers, along with pollinators and beneficial insects that we need. Pollen, seeds and butterfly cocoons may be desiccated. The products used to maintain the blowers, from lubricants to degreasers and many other chemical compounds, pollute our soil and water. The emissions from the blowers themselves pollute our air, and the gasoline used, of course, produces greenhouse gases. Gas also is spilled every day on Sag Harbor lawns from these polluting machines, much to the detriment of our regional ecology.
We managed with rakes for centuries on end. Gas leaf blower use should never have become the new normal — but we have the power to reject this once and for all.
Respect your neighbors and don’t let landscapers use these damaging blowers on your property, for which you ultimately are the steward. Respect all the species on and around your property, and please do the right thing for them, too.
Mary Ann Mulvihill-Decker
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