Every child learns that leaves are an absolutely necessary part of the ecosystem. Trees drop their leaves, leaves decompose and fertilize the earth. Leaves provide shelter for insects. Insects are pollinators and important decomposers. In turn, the insects feed the birds. The United States bird population has dwindled by 3 billion, 40% of all insects are dying and the Earth is heating up.

Thank you to our Township Council for recently creating stricter codes regarding the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. This is a great first step and I look forward to a total ban of gas leaf blowers in Montclair in the near future.

In the meantime, in order for laws to work, there needs to be public awareness and aggressive enforcement. We pay parking meters because 1) every parking meter displays the fee and 2) we know that parking enforcement in Montclair is very zealous. The same level of awareness should apply to leaf blower use.

I urge the council to educate both homeowners and landscapers about the new law. This could take the form of letters, social media announcements and automated texts to landscapers and residents informing them that use of gas-powered leaf blowers is prohibited from May 16 through Oct. 14, and from Dec. 16 through  March 14 each year. Or, in other words, their usage is limited to between March 15 and May 15, and Oct. 15 and Dec. 15.

In addition to public education, we need code enforcement to proactively enforce it! These are easy violations to find — just follow the noise — and could be a source of revenue for Montclair, just as parking enforcement is.

Towns and cities all over the United States have climate action plans and are moving toward zero emissions. This is an emergency. The worldwide drive toward zero emissions is being driven locally. Let’s set the standard for New Jersey and be part of the solution! 

Leah Katz


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