Group of students proposes banning use of leaf blowers in Palm Beach County

Group will present ideas to commissioners Tuesday

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Landscapers call the leaf blower an essential tool. But a group of Palm Beach County college students sees - and hears - it much differently.

They want to ban the use of all leaf blowers countywide. Such a ban would impact different people in very different ways.

The sound of a leaf blower is common in South Florida, but not everyone wants to hear it anymore. Some Palm Beach State College students are calling themselves S.A.V.E., Students Against Volatile Emissions.

On Tuesday, members will urge county commissioners to ban the use of leaf blowers, effective Jan. 1, 2012.

"You can't even have any type of conversation. You can't hear your music. You can't hear the birds. It's just annoying," said Elizabeth Bachelder, who will address commissioners this week.

It is not just only the noise, but also the health and environmental impacts that S.A.V.E believes a leaf blower brings.

"I don't think there's too many of us that haven't had a conversation and had one of those walk by and had to say 'hold on a minute' and wait until the groundskeeper goes by," said Steve Pohler, a member of the group.

Ray Alvarez owns Pro Lawn Care Plus, a West Palm Beach landscaping service that has been in business for 20 years. Alvarez believes such a ban would take away one of the most efficient tools he has.

"If we can't use this, it's like cutting off an arm to do the job that we need to do," he said.

Alvarez said the leaf blower works much faster than cleaning up with a broom and believes saving time saves money. "It's probably not going to be as easy, as fast, and as cost-effective to the customer," he added.

S.A.V.E will present the leaf blower ban idea to Palm Beach County commissioners Tuesday afternoon. However, it is unclear if commissioners will be taking any action on the matter.

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