I write this letter as I take perhaps my last morning walk on Highland Avenue until May 16. It saddens me so much that this beautiful road with its native plants and other natural beauty is now invaded by pollution-spewing and completely unnecessary noise machines called gas-powered leaf blowers.

As I walk this morning, some of my fellow walkers are putting their hands over their ears and/or masking up, not due to COVID-19 fears I think, but more likely to keep from breathing in the gas fumes. I am also sorry that many of the vulnerable gas-powered leaf blower operators are not protected with masks. With so many major crises in the world, this may seem like an insignificant issue, but most changes in the way we live and how we improve our society begin at a local level.

The new, more restrictive gas leaf blower ordinance is a good thing, but it has highlighted how wonderful it has been to live without these peace-disturbing, environmentally menacing machines so that the return of them is even more disturbing.

I hope that progressive Montclair can join with other regions throughout the country that are banning gas leaf blowers completely. One of the most effective steps toward improving our environment is for homeowners to insist that their landscapers switch to electric blowers or rakes.

Lynn Hendee

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