Ban Leaf Blowers ! (otherwise known as . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . polluting noise bazookas )

By August 28, 2009Sustainable Landscaping

I found a web site whose aim is the complete elimination of leaf blowers from California, and Nation-wide if possible.

We at Terra Nova support a leaf blower ban. Below we have reproduced some of the “high-lights“ of a ninety-two-page manifesto found on the cleanair.trilithon website. You can go here to download this manifesto. The following is from the Cleanair.trilithon website.

. . . no person shall discharge from any source whatsoever such quantities of air contaminants or other material which cause injurydetrimentnuisanceor annoyance to any considerable number of persons or to the publicor which endanger the comfortreposehealthor safety of any such persons or the publicor which causeor have a natural tendency to causeinjury or damage to business or property

California State Health and Safety Code Section 41700

There are over three million leaf blowers in California. The majority are gasoline-powered leaf blowers. If growth trends continue, soon there will be over six million leaf blowers in California, at which time, air pollution, water pollution, blown dust, and noise, will be twice as bad as today.

Details (illustrated with trend charts and other data) of the daily dose of pollution and noise visited upon residents of California by over three million leaf blowers are published in a ninety-two-page (including contents and index) manifesto that can be downloaded from this web site.

Manifesto updated 2007 December 13.

The first recipient of this manifesto is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is determined to enact sweeping legislation to reduce or eliminate emissions and pollution from California.


You can help in this campaign:

  • Contact the Governor’s Office to add your voice to support elimination of polluting noise bazookas.
  • Tell your friends and ask them to add their support

Visit the page linked above to get in touch with the office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and voice your support for eliminating three million polluting noise bazookas from California.

Here are “high-lights“ of the manifesto that describes the environmental destruction spewed into California cities and towns every day of the year by over three million polluting noise bazookas.

Every day, those gasoline-powered leaf blowers spew over one-and-a-half million gallons of raw unburned two-stroke fuel into your California air at two hundred miles per hour, or over five-hundred-and-forty million gallons per year.

Since the beginning of the gasoline-powered leaf blower and noise-making era in California, those gasoline-powered leaf blowers have spewed eight billion gallons of raw unburned fuel into your environment.

Every day, gasoline-powered leaf blowers spew over forty-eight thousand tons of Carbon Dioxide into California air at two hundred miles per hour, or over eighteen million tons per year , contributing to global warming.

Every dry day, leaf blowers boost over ninety thousand tons of dust into your California air at two hundred miles per hour, creating potential health hazards, for over eighteen million tons of dust per year.
That boosted dust potentially contributes to the huge increases in asthma, allergies, and respiratory ailments over the past thirty years.

Let’s go from this . . . blower ban

To this  . . .brooming


  • For health and economic facts regarding leaf blower use, and for our responses to claims of blower ban opponents, see A public service site re the history of the 10 year old Los Angeles ban on gas blowers within 500 ft of a residence. The same claims are being made by opponents today. BE PREPARED.

  • Gomidas says:

    God you are so right! Im in! Ban them blowers. I live in a neighborhood in Glendale, Ca. where the fornt yards of properties are less than 25’x 50′ and yet 2 to 3 times a day I hear those things for an hour or more. Theres also a cloud of dust that blows from property to property on every occasion. I have to close doors and windows. 2 hours later the other gardner shows up. I rake and sweep my yard in 15 minuts and I consider myself lazy. Why dont they do the same. The other day it was raining and I heard one, went outside with a camera, they stopped cuz they saw how stupid they looked. I believe a Greener planet starts with everyone pitching in some way. If the government is planning on lowering c02 levels, 3 million leaf blowers is a great start.

  • Martina says:

    I rake and sweep my property and have gardeners (that’s using the term loosely) only for mowing the lawn and taking out the bins. They think I’m crazy. I have even heard them say it to themselves in Spanish. I compost most of the leaves I rake up for mulch and use around the plants and trees. They have asked me a few times “why do yo do that with the leaves.” They just don’t get it. It took FOREVER to get them to stop blowing. After few years of telling them ” DO NOT BLOW THE SOIL” they finally stopped. Sometimes if I’m not there they will still blow even though the yard was already cleaned up by me. Force of habit I guess. They say they won’t do raking or sweeping. Honestly they really act like I am doing them a big dis-service by raking and sweeping myself.
    The neighbors gardeners still blow their leaves into my yard though.
    What can you do?!?

  • Susan says:

    Our community is blanketed with noise daily from the demonic leaf blower. I don’t understand what the point is of using these destructive machines. They move air at over 200 miles an hour and send crud everywhere. The crud gets in your eyes, nose, throat and lungs. The sound is unbearable! Please sign our on line petition at
    Stop leaf blower insanity across America. Try doing something in your community now – talk to neighbors, go to city council meetings and complain.

  • TRM says:

    Ban them.
    For some of the arguments see: Shh! Can You Turn Down That Leaf Blower?
    By Ted Rueter
    October 3, 1997
    Christian Science Monitor

  • That Blows says:

    […] The ones that use gasoline.  The latter of the abovementioned lawn care implements is actually banned from some communities in this country, or its uses are severely curtailed by requirements for the […]

  • JD says:

    There is an effort to ban these “infernal machines” ongoing in our town at present, with other communities ready to do the same. The dialogue on the issue has been illuminating and heated.

    You can check out both sides of the argument at:

  • Topaz Abbott says:


  • Geoff says:

    I also want to ban these infernal contraptions from all of California. I just moved into a quiet mobile home park and thought, Oh, I’ll finally be free of them. But NO! They are here every frigging day, usually more than once. I am wearing ear muffs used by construction workers as I write this…I am SO goddamned sick of the noise pollution caused by these inane devices. I will approach Santa Rosa City Council. There has been a move afoot to ban them from all of Sonoma County, but it has not been successful yet.

  • Paul Adams says:

    We have an appalling leaf-blower problem here on Long Island (NY). As usual people divide into 2 camps: those who love ’em and those who hate ’em. If only the lovers and haters could live in separate neighborhoods. But every time I have, from desperatin, mved, a leaf blower nutmoves in next door. Here they do not just use hand-held machines, but enormous contraptions on 4 wheels. Today there were 3 of them nearby, each blowing leaves and dirt onto each others’ yards.
    Is there anywhere in the US where there is a total ban? I would move there instantly – not just for the peace, but to have nice neighbors.

  • Mike_88 says:

    I live in apartments in Glendale, Ca. We have 5-6 leave blowers in view of my apartment, each one coming a separate day. I have never lived in a place that gets dirty so fast. Each blower stirs up so much dirt as they clear their parking lot distributing the mess to the neighboring parking lot. It is ridiculous how dirty the cars get let alone the noise everyday. It is hard to believe we haven’t evolved to vacuuming.

  • Aunt Lonny says:

    I am a retired lady with health issues. I maintain and clean my own garden and grounds. It’s a huge job, but I do it a day at a time. It breaks my heart when I see these gas blowing disease spreading things show up every Monday. As I watch, I see leaves, dust, particles flying. The stuff covers my yard, my house, my windows, my lungs. I find “stuff” from the neighbor’s yard blown into my yard when the “gardeners” lazily blow the debris under the fence making it MY job to clean up the next door neighbor’s garbage. There is dust in my home that filters in through the windows, the flying debris activates my allergies and compromises my breathing. I hate gas blowers. Hate hate hate them. They are the tool of a lazy demon. I will sign any petition you want me to to assist in stopping these horrible machines from starting up. I live in San Mateo County, California and this is a county that doesn’t seem to care about it’s people until it is forced to pay attention. Thank you.

  • Ginger says:

    Gas powered leaf blowers are an unacceptable, polluting nuisance, that pose a serious health hazard to boot . I cannot underscore the importance of getting politically involved if you want things to change. Write your city/county council/assembly members, governor, state and federal representatives. Then get neighborhood petitions together and go to the meetings. Be focused, calm, prepared and confident. Lay out the facts associated with gas powered leaf blowers and document the alternatives. Demonstrate how other communities have enacted bans with no additiional cost to the homeowner from lawn maintenance services. If you have a business, let them know how if you are considering relocating to a community that does not have gas leaf blowers.

    And in the words of Winston Churchill: ” Never give up, never give up, never, ever, ever–give up!

  • Steve says:

    I hate leaf blowers and have been trying to get my city to consider banning these senseless tools of mass polution for years. My home is constantly covered in dirt blown into the air by leaf blowers. On my block alone, we have gardeners coming on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is impossible to keep our car clean for more than a day without it getting covered in dirt.

    In his current age of green thinking, there is another major problem with leaf blowers and that is the dirt that is deposited on your newly installed solar panels daily by leaf blowers. The efficiency of Solar panels are rapidly diminished when the panels are covered in dirt and dust. They must be washed off frequently to avoid losing their effectiveness. Since virtually all solar panels are installed on the roof, they are very difficult to clean without paying a professional to climb up there to do the job. Ever wonder why your panels aren’t providing as much energy as they did when first installed?

  • K. Lindner says:

    How can I find out if a ban has been considered by the City of Santa Clarita north of Los Angeles. Our zip is 91355. There seem to be more of them every day – perhaps as other cities ban them, they are showing up here! It is such an inexcusable intrusion to our right to peace and quiet. Thanks for any help. 10/27/11

  • K. Lindner says:

    forgot to check the followup comments via email. Now checked.

  • D.M. says:

    I live in Palm Springs and the noise and air pollution produced by the leafblowers here makes living in Palm Springs almost unbearable.

    The army of “gardeners” who use leafblowers start at 7 AM and the noise doesn’t stop (going from house to house) until it gets dark.

    Based on my experience, I wouldn’t recommend living in Palm Springs and I would especially not recommend buying a house there (unless there is a leaf blower ban).

    Help!! Anyone know of a group in Palm Springs aimed at banning leaf blowers? They ruin communities!

  • Jim S says:

    Leaf blowers are fine. You don’t have to use one, so just relax and buy a rake.

  • Paul says:

    Jim S says leaf blowers are fine, and if one doesn’t like them one can just use a rake instead. But the problem is the loud noise from other people’s leaf blowers. Some of these are audible from a quarter mile away!
    I don’t understand why it’s not possible to find at least one community, somewhere in the US, where such noisemaking is banned. Then all of us who hate the noise could simply move there – I would gladly pay a premium to live in such a community.

  • They are banned in Santa Monica CA!

  • ken says:

    Despite widespread agreement that these Satan’s Engines be muffled completely there are factions at work – notably the manufacturers and, of course, mow and blow landscapers themselves – arguing that they continue to be used. And they are, from dawn to dusk in most cities, with no one doing anything to stop it. Go to Japan, where most of them were made, and you won’t hear them. Go to Europe, and not a peep. Only in America, guys, and that says something about the country’s acceptance that for something to be good and effective — it has to make one devilishly loud noise, e.g. Motorcycles, sports cars, lawn care equipment. Truth is, you don’t need them.
    From John…

  • Doug says:

    I also live in Palm Springs, and agree with the other poster that the noise from them and other landscaping equipment all day long every day is unbearable. I think we’re going to have to move back to LA just to get some peace and quiet!

  • You are all correct, but you are all cowards at the same time.

    This is in large part a cultural and racial issue. The Mexicans and Central Americans want to use their macho, loud, dirty machines. Most Americans are afraid to confront them or the homeowners.

    You need to start confronting and filing lawsuits if the police will not respond. Seek injunctions. Do whatever it takes because your sanity demands it.

  • Ed Dilks says:

    The cleanair.trillithon website has not been updated since December 2007 and contains dead links with references to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who is no longer in office. Does anyone know how to contact the webmaster?

  • Laura says:

    I need direction on how to go about getting leaf blowers banned. I’m so tired of these things, the noise, the dirt and dust, the neighbors leaves and dirt blown into my yard.

  • Laura says:

    In Los Angeles, report use of gas, two-stroke blowers (those not operated by electricity or battery) within 500 feet of a residence.

    Easiest: In Los Angeles, just phone 213 473-4486 and pay for the call, if it is a toll call. That is the direct line to the leaf blower hotline recording.

  • Laura says:

    HOTLINE: 800 996-2489
    Be prepared to give

    1. The date, day, time, and address of the violation (spell the street and neighborhood name, such as “Van Nuys”), and zip code (!!).

    2. The license number of the truck or vehicle used by a hired worker.

    3. Optional: your name and/or the name of the gardening company.

    4. ZAP suggests you point out how many times you have reported the same violator, and request a citation be given.

    You may have to report the same blower use several times. Just as other noise complaints, such as barking dogs, must be registered for the enforcement officers to be aware of the disturbance, so must blower use problems.

    In order to to lessen the burden on the Police Department, the Leaf Blower Task Force had recommended that both the Department of Building and Safety and the Bureau of Street Maintenance have the authority to issue citations. While the Bureau of Street Maintenance may have the authority to issue citations, they primarily take reports, and pass them on to LAPD.

    HOTLINE TIPS: 800 996-2489: To quickly get to where you can record your information, either:

    1. Go ahead and choose the number 1 and pause, choose another 1 and pause, then a final 1, to pass up 4 long messages and 11 choices. OR:

    2. Don’t press anything at all, and wait for the original operator to connect you. However, you will still have two stops, since you will be sent to Street Use Inspection, who will then have to connect you to the recording hotline. You may be connected to one or two wrong numbers in the meantime.

    Complaints or suggestions about the Complaint Hotline? Start at the top: Try the office of the Director of Street Services, and/or Chief of Street Use. Let us know the results.

    For repeated violations

    NOTE: Some gardeners stop using blowers for a short time after receiving warning letters or citations. Others change their time or day of service. DO NOT CALL “911”.

    You might call your local neighborhood police watch commander to request a citation be issued. Be prepared to give the dates of past violations and reports you have made to the hotline.

    Take into consideration that your local police officers may not know the leaf blower law as well as you do. They may have more important matters to handle, and certainly have more interesting ones. Most ban advocates understand and empathize with them.

    However, this is how the L.A. ordinance is written, and officers are sworn to uphold the law. Individuals should not be deciding which laws to uphold and which to ignore. Be prepared to politely give them information and understanding, but also to ask that your rights be upheld.

    Look the number up in the front Government Pages of your phone book, under City, Los Angeles, Police, and the name of your area. This may be followed by “(non-emergency}”. One area’s phone book has this listing about 100 pages in, but is helpful in that the “Government Pages” title on the outside of the page is blue edged and so can be found quickly by flipping pages.

    OR, try the non-emergency 1-877-275-5273 (1-877-ASK-LAPD) number. They should be able to give you the number of your local precinct.

    The non-emergency 1-877-275-5273 (1-877-ASK-LAPD).

    Coordinated by Deen & Black Public Relations. One contact there is Michelle Pettit, 310 407-7900.

    Do make the choices offered for English or Spanish, then for Nuisance calls. The choices at the time of this writing do not include leaf-lower, and if it did, it might connect you to the above-noted report Hot Line instead of your local police station.

    At the time of this writing, if you take the option of not selecting suggested connection numbers, you must listen to English, Spanish and loud TTY tones (encoded for the deaf and hard of hearing), all perhaps several times, while waiting for a human response.

    Reporting is the only way city officials can know what is going on.
    In 1999, a unaware city spokesperson said, “The reason for so few violations is we are not finding many second or third offenses.”

    In the same article, gardeners and ban advocates indicated there were repeated violations, in part, because “Sometimes they [officers] come and look at us, but they don’t say anything. . .All the gardeners still use them [blowers]. . .we don’t [use them in] Beverly Hills, and that’s because the owners don’t like them.” (99.10.2)

    “I still use [a leaf blower in Laguna]. I’ve never been caught. . . the law doesn’t change anything.” – Gardener

    Report your experience with blowers to ZAP Manhattan Beach.
    Make it short, please. This web site is separate from ZAPLA, but is also run by volunteers taking time from family, work, or other volunteer work. They try to respond to all comments, questions or suggestions. Read through the site before asking questions they may already have answered in their text or their correspondence.

    If you find the law is not being complied with and/or enforced, and your reports to the city Hotline do not stop violations, contact your city representative. In Los Angeles, that is the City Attorney’s office, and/or your City Councilmember.
    The front of your phone book should have a Government section, listing your Councilmember. If you aren’t sure who to call, ask the information operator at the local or downtown city hall number or go to the city website.

    As noted elsewhere on this site, other local municipalities and state contact numbers and web sites can be found at here.

    Take notes when you make your complaint. Ask who will follow it up? When should you expect a response or call back? What else can you do? How can you find out if your reports resulted in a citation? How many citations has that violator received?

    Check the report line to be sure your report was registered.

    You may have to push through for this information.

    You may not be able to find out if a citation was issued, but we suggest you try to follow it up, anyway. Your interest shows enforcement agencies that a number of people really do care.

    And, that gives more authority to those seeking new ordinances or better enforcement of existing laws.

    Read the rest of our Action sections.
    They contain links to groups or web sites that have helpful instructions on how to go about some of the suggestions listed here.

    Go to our LINKS reference page.
    It contains a list of groups and organizations that deal with health and the environment. Some of these offer detailed ACTION suggestions. We have attempted to include only those groups, and urge you to consider only those suggestions that support legal, peaceful means.


    Stop and thank gardeners who are using rakes and brooms
    Reinforce the fact that you appreciate their efforts, and show an interest in their work. Ask if you can give their names (or the address at which they work) to neighbors who may be looking for a new gardener who does not use blowers.

    Knowledge is Power. Prepare to answer the concerns of others, especially concerns of employers.
    In this web site, read, at minimum, the Overview and Debate sections.

    Speak Out: Speak to the person, or the employer of the person, using a blower. Peer pressure, especially if based on real problems created by blowers, is the key to compliance.

    In the words of a gardener who violates the Los Angeles ban, “The only place we don’t [use blowers] is Beverly Hills, and that’s because the owners don’t like them.” (99.10.2)
    Best done at a time when you can hold a friendly conversation for several minutes. Tell them how blower use on their property has inconvenienced or upset you, and why.

    For instance, did foul odors or dust and debris blow into your home through an open window or door? Does your car or patio become soiled from their dust drift? Did the noise make you unable to hear or to concentrate on a phone call? Did it wake someone or force them to discontinue an outdoor chore?

    Offer gardening advice and alternatives. Give them a copy of the law and the letters on this site that confirm it is still in effect. The Los Angeles law is linked here.

    At a minimum, ask your next-door neighbors to instruct their gardeners not to use blowers of any sort between their buildings and yours, especially where they are only 5 feet from the common property line.

    If the violation occurs again, send letters to neighbors who are also inconvenienced by blowers, asking them to also speak to the homeowner.

    Ask your Neighborhood Watch program and Civic Association to include education about the law in their newsletters and meetings.

    Give the employer and/or the blower operator information you have downloaded or copied from this or other blower web sites to show them why you are concerned.
    Give them this web address, and point out that many libraries have free web access, with librarians or volunteers trained to help them use computers. These can be found at 1-866-583-1234 (toll free) or through the Digital Divide website.

    Give them a copy of the conclusions of the Air Resources Board’s report, which can be found on their website: Or, just give them the site address so they can download the whole Leafblower Report.

    Speak to the blower user.

    After the conversation, take notes of what occurred, in case you need to support the fact that you first made a personal complaint, and to record what the violator said to you.
    Please be as matter-of-fact and informative as possible. It doesn’t help to be aggressive or angry towards the blower operator.

    Many gardeners have no idea that anyone, other than those people involved in securing the ban, may also be disturbed. Some have been instructed to use blowers by their job supervisor, and are ill at ease in the first place. They, too, may hate the noise and the dust.

    Explain the illegality of the blower use. Explain how it disturbs or disrupts your life; especially how the machine’s noise and the dust it blows up make you feel angry. (NOT how the gardener or worker, himself or herself, is making you angry).

    Mention that, if you must report the violation, the homeowner can also be fined, and may become angry.

    If necessary, take a witness and/or a cellular phone. If you have a friendly response, offer to use pre-programmed numbers on your phone to call the hotline or City Attorney’s office to let the gardener confirm the ban.

    If he refuses to discontinue use, call the hotline and make a report as you walk away..

    Another time, audiotape or video the blower use to replay to the employer. Leave volume at same setting for recording and playback while you try to have a conversation with your neighbor about the blower use.. Compare these tapes with a list of decibel levels taken from your own property.

    Speak up immediately when dust and debris shoots onto your property or into your house.
    This is best done while some dust is still suspended over your property. Point out to workers the results of their ambitious work habits. If you remain as friendly as possible, showing irritation with the machine, not the worker, they may recognize the irony of their cleaning one property only to trash another. You might appear resigned that the machines can cause this nuisance, but firm that it doesn’t have to occur.

    Remind workers that manufacturers discourage the use of full-throttle on a regular basis. It is not necessary, and seldom hurries a job along.

    Speak up to your neighborhood homeowner group or condo management group. Ask to speak at the yearly membership meeting.

    Keep records of dates, times, experiences, what info you gave violator, what their response was.

    These may help if you or the City Attorney goes to court. Inform the report Hot Line or the Police that you have these records.
    Immediately after speaking with a violator, take notes about the conversation. Don’t wait a week or even a day, when your own interpretation of the memory may put “words in their mouths”.

    These conversations will give you a good idea of what “party line” is being passed around by your opponents, for, after the first time you hear them, many conversations will sound like a script.

    Check the decibel level of blowers at the distance cited by local noise ordinances. In Los Angeles, all gardening machines used on a regular basis must be 65dB or less at 50 feet.

    View LA Ordinance here.

    As long as you are reporting, report mowers, lawn edgers and trimmers that are over 65 db.
    Small, hand-held, batter-operated Decibel meters can be found in electronic stores for about $40-$70. Share yours with friends or circulate it within your group. Follow instructions regarding settings and use, in order to get accurate readings.

    Show your results to neighbors or workers who think you are overly concerned.

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    Copyright 2001 Zero Air Pollution Los Angeles. All rights reserved.

    To report violations of the gas leaf blower ban in the City of Los Angeles, dial 311.

    That operator will connect you to the Report Line. Also report repeat violations in the future. If an LAPD car is in the vicinity, they may be able to respond. If not, your report(s) will be followed-up at a later date.

    Be prepared to report the day of the week, the date, the time, the address, and the license plate on the gardener’s vehicle, if any.

  • Laura says:

    Officers enforce Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 112.04(c) in the same manner as any other infraction.

    The Los Angeles Police Department has primary enforcement responsibility for this Ordinance. Community members may also register complaints with the Street Use Inspection Division, Department of Public Works, at 1-800-996-CITY (Leaf blower Complaint Line).

    An officer who responds to a radio call and/or otherwise observes anyone operating a gas powered leaf blower within 500 feet of a residence within the City of Los Angeles, may take the following enforcement action:

    *Inform the operator of the leaf blower that they are in violation of Section 112.04(c) LAMC.

  • H.foss says:

    We see no reason a gardener does not use a vacuum to pick up leaves and debris…do you? Heavy
    Fines would work!

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