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Street Cleaning: Brooms or Leaf blowers

As the Autumn season is here, we can expect leaves everywhere on the streets. And of course, the street sweepers. But recently street sweepers are no longer using brooms. Instead, they use a device to help them ease their task – the leaf blowers. And while cleaning services and some residents like to use these cleaning devices, environmentalists consider this as air polluters. So what should street cleaners use – brooms or leaf blowers?

In the city of Stuttgarter, the Green District Advisory Council describes the sound of leaf blowers. He said it sounds like a baby whaling or plain just noise. The employees of the municipal waste management company (AWS) are sometimes out and about in the early morning to clear the lanes, sidewalks, and squares of leaves. This year, given the long late summer, according to AWS, their season would not start until mid-October, a month later than usual.

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Leaf blowers make noise

District councils from other parts of the city and also from his party want AWS employees to be obliged to turn against it. The Greens in the west of Stuttgart submitted a corresponding application to the district advisory council in 2017. The SÖS / Linke-plus parliamentary group recently called for a ban on leaf blowers in the Vaihingen district council.

The wind instrument generated a sound level of over 100 decibels, which is harmful to human hearing, warns the environmentalist organizations. That corresponds to the noise of jackhammers. If an internal combustion engine drives the devices, exhaust gases are produced. The emissions then also contribute to pollution. Leaf blowers also whirled up the habitat of small animals. Suction devices are also used that kill the animals on the spot.

District chief sees devices critically

The waste management industry points out that they would like to leave the devices in the shed – and also explains why they don’t. “The AWS company would generally forego leaf blowers if enough personnel were available to remove the leaves in a reasonable time without these technical aids,” says AWS spokesperson.

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While there are continuous developments that may take the place of leaf blowers, environmentalists still advocate brooms and rakes in spite of all complaints about the time involved. The campaign is for maximum environmental protection that’s why many cleaning devices such as leaf blowers and suction devices are questionable.