Los Altos is a beautiful, peaceful town. However, the air quality, peace and beauty are disturbed by gas-powered leaf blowers. You may not know that gas-powered blowers are illegal in Los Altos. In fact, Los Altos was the first community in the Bay Area to ban gas leaf blowers back in 1991 (Los Altos Municipal Code 6.16.070 – Prohibited acts Section B.15).
They create lots of polluting emissions. Running a gas-powered blower for 30 minutes creates more ozone-forming emissions than driving an F-150 pickup truck 3,800 miles, according to the online automotive information resource Edmunds.com. The small engines in gas-powered blowers are very inefficient due to incomplete fuel burning, thus they produce high amounts of carbon monoxide, ozone and other polluting gases compared with motor vehicles. They are unhealthy for you, your gardeners and the entire community.
Please have your gardeners stop using a gas-powered leaf blower and instead use an electric blower or a rake and broom. If your gardeners do not already own an electric blower, ask them to consider purchasing one. Or buy an electric blower for your gardeners. You can purchase one at Los Altos Hardware, 441 First St., or at the nearest Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Please report gas leaf blower usage to the Los Altos code enforcement officer at 947-2770.
To educate gardeners and neighbors on the topic, the GreenTown Los Altos website offers handouts at greentownlos-altos.org/2019/07/how-you-can-help-clean-the-air.
Rita Cartalano is a member of the GreenTown Los Altos Clean Air Advocates Team along with Linda Ziff, Elaine Haight, Dean Samos, Jill Woodford, Don Kinell and Laura Teksler. For more information, visit greentownlosaltos.org.