Newton, Mass., Adopts a Summer Ban on Gas-Powered Blowers

This article from the Newton TAB describes a new measure approved by the city council. Among its other provisions, it (a) says that leaf blowers used at any time during the year must put out sound of 65 decibels or less (which is well below the level of most current gas-powered machines), and (b) says that gas-powered blowers cannot be used at all in the summer months.

Sample from the story:

The City Council approved a new leafblower ordinance, 20-4, around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning after four hours of debate and votes on 11 proposed amendments.
Councilors spent two years working towards last night's vote, with many residents demanding the council take steps to address the noise and air pollution of leafblowers....
For years, Newton's sound ordinance has limited leafblowers to 65 decibels. But the rule is widely ignored and never enforced, with landscapers using much louder 77-decibel devices.
The new ordinance maintains the 65-decibel level and – to ease and boost enforcement – will require all leafblowers bear a manufacturer's label showing they are 65 decibels or quieter.

The full TAB story is here.


The ongoing argument for moving away from dirty, hyper-polluting two-stroke gas engines is that public health information is making their dangers more evidence, and technology is rapidly offering realistic alternatives. Cities like Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, and Dhaka have over the past decade imposed increasingly stiff bans on two-stroke engines, because their use (mainly in scooters, tuktuks, and other transport vehicles) was such an important source of pollution and related health dangers. The United States long ago forced its transportation system onto a less-polluting path. Now cities like Newton are catching up with the main remaining, outlier use of an antique technology.