SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — This summer the Sacramento Region has seen a record-breaking string of Spare the Air days. The smoggy skies have now prompted some politicians to consider curbing the use of leaf blowers.
Nine California cities have already banned leaf blowers during certain times, and Sacramento city leaders will consider the ban in a few months.
Sacramento City council member Jeff Harris says he gets a “tremendous amount of complaints” about leaf blowers. So now he’s leading the effort to ban blowers on Spare the Air days.
“During Spare the Air days we won’t let anybody burn a fire and add more particulate matter to the air, so why would we allow leaf blowers?” Harris said.
So far this year there have been 19 Spare the Air days in the Sacramento Region, which is the most the area has had since 2002.
Air quality has hit unhealthy levels eight times and very unhealthy levels three times this year.
Harris says banning leaf blowers during these bad air days will help cut back on particulate matter polluting the environment.
“These particles build up in your lungs and they reduce your capacity to take oxygen and absorb it into your bloodstream,” Harris said.
While Harris is fighting for less leaf blowers, not everyone in Sacramento is ready give them up.
Humberto Arreola started his landscape maintenance business in Sacramento 30 years ago and now employs 100 workers.
Arreola said prices will have to go up if leaf blower use was reduced because his workers would have to use brooms or rakes.
“We’re spending 10 minutes with the blower, it’s going to be over an hour with the push broom,” Arreola said.
Despite the inconveniences, supporters of Harris’ plan say banning blowers during Spare the Air days is a small sacrifice when it comes to public health.
If passed, the new law could come into effect by next summer.