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Huntington Joins Communities Across Country Restricting Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers Over Pollution Concerns

TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Fall foliage is bursting with color, but cleaning up all those leaves can be a noisy, dirty job.

Communities around the country and here at home are banning ear-splitting and polluting leaf blowers.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, on a beautiful November day, they are the sound of the suburbs. Communities are raking in complaints.

"They do drive you crazy," one person said. "You don't want to sit outside."

"It's every kind of pollution," another person added.

The ever-present snarl of leaf blowers has created a chorus of calls to stop polluting the moment and the air.

"The pandemic raised the volume of those complaints dramatically, as people were working from home, homeschooling from home," Town of Huntington Councilmember Joan Cergol told Gusoff.

The Town of Huntington has joined a growing list of communities restricting gas powered blowers. No more using them on weekends and holidays.

"You can blow. We're just saying let's start to migrate to battery-powered blowers," Cergol said.

According to New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, the amount of carbon monoxide emitted from a leaf blower for just one hour is equal to a car running for more than eight hours.

But as Gusoff reported, suburbanites love their leafless lawns.

"I literately blow my leaves almost a dozen times a week," one person said.

"What doesn't pollute? I mean, it's a leaf blower," another person said.

Battery-operated leaf blowers are cleaner and greener, but they are nearly twice the price.

Landscaper Mark McAteer told Gusoff he's not against making the change, but it comes with a cost.

"It costs us more in labor, because it's not as productive, it's not as powerful. And in addition, the machinery costs more, the battery life is inadequate," he said.

Those costs are then passed along to homeowners.

It's a sacrifice climate advocate Tim Donahue said in an op-ed is worth it.

"If we want to have a vaguely healthy planet, we will have to make a lot of sacrifices. Here is one sacrifice I think we can make, changing our method of gathering leaves," he wrote.

The cost to landscapers to switch to battery-powered blowers could soon be offset. New York is planning tax credits and rebates.

Advocates say the health benefits to landscapes are priceless.

Fines for violators in Huntington increase from $200 for a first offense to $5,000 for repeat offenders.

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