An End to Leaf Blowers in Santa Cruz

“Why did we tolerate these things for so long?”

cartoonLet’s face it, no one has ever liked the noise and fumes of leaf blowers, but tolerance for gas-powered leaf blowers seems to be at an all-time low. It’s easy to see why–the hiring of landscaping companies is ubiquitous, most of those companies still use gas leaf blowers, and since people are home much more often these days due to the pandemic, there is no escaping them. What’s more, electric leaf blowers are now as powerful and affordable as gas ones, so the continued polluting and disruption of our neighborhoods with gas-powered leaf blowers is not just unhealthy and obnoxious, it’s sensless as well.

Our City, Our Choice: Noisy and Toxic or Peaceful and Healthy?

If everyone reading this ditches their leaf blower, it will help–but isolated actions only go so far. If we care as a community about our health and environment, we’ll finally pass a sensible ordinance and join the 30 other towns and cities across California that have banned gas-powered leaf blowers (see map); dozens more have restricted them. Pacific Grove, our neighbor across the bay, banned them earlier this year by a vote of 7-0. Santa Cruz residents value the beautiful coast, clean air, and our health–so why do we still tolerate these loud, toxic machines?

CA cities with leaf blower bans

Santa Cruz City Policies

Santa Cruz Health in All Policies

The City of Santa Cruz committed to considering health, equity, and sustainability in all operations and policies (Health in All Policies), yet the city council has still not considered restricting two-stroke leaf blowers, perhaps the least efficient, most harmful machines in the city. There are better alternatives, so restricting gas blowers is low-hanging fruit–an easy way to remove a well-documented threat to clean air and health and show the city is serious about its commitment to Health in All Policies.

Santa Cruz has not yet taken this sensible and overdue step. Santa Cruz C.H.A.S.E. is working to make that happen.


The Problem

Gas-powered leaf blowers are outdated, two-stroke engines that disturb the peace while spewing a host of harmful toxins and pollutants into the neighborhood. It’s like using a jackhammer to kill some weeds–it’s overkill, the wrong tool for the job, inflicting extreme noise on hundreds of neighbors and spreading airborne pollutants far beyond.

Gas powered leaf blowers inflict large public pain for a small private gain.

Learn more about the unique, high impacts of leaf blowers on residents, landscapers, and our city. Or if you don’t need convincing, jump to solutions below!

leaf blower impacts
Source: CA Air Resources Board, 2000; C.H.A.S.E., 2019

Solutions

What We Need to Do

Educate

Talk to your landscaper and neighbors about the impacts of leaf blowers, and help make the voluntary transition to quiet/clean tools in your neighborhood. Check out our page on clean alternatives that are a win-win for everyone.

Advocate

Press our city council to address the problem long term, with a solid ordinance.

You can write to the city council, sign the petition, get our yard sign, send a letter to the editor, and more.

Learn more about how you can help


Santa Cruz C.H.A.S.E.
Santa Cruz Coalition for a Healthy & Safe Environment

Santa Cruz, CA

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