Leaf -blowers are a bane on society: besides polluting they make an obnoxious noise that raises everybody’s blood pressure even when they are not bothered by the unnatural sound. A fdairly large segment of the population IS upset by the noise, and are having their lives ruined by their omnipresence. From the landscape company’s point of view they are compelling, however, making the amount of work one man can do greater. And individual owners benefit when they use one themselves, but are unaware that it upsets many neighbors. If they only affected one’s own household it would not matter so much. But the noise travels a long way, and existing anti-noise laws are not much use as they only apply when the decibel level is quite high, which is usually not the case, despite which people still find the sound upsetting.
And, of course, all that work was once done with rakes. Some places (such as Hollywood, for instance) have sought to make leaf-blowers completely illegal. But a possible middle ground that we might want to consider is for a town to tax their use, ideally at a rate that would make it cheaper to use rakes (not so terribly inefficient, it seems to me!). Or perhaps a middle ground that just makes raking competitive but not necessarily cheaper, so those that thought it important can get the work done at about the same rate. The money generated could be used to build “quiet zones” within walking distance of every residence, although I don’t off-hand see how to make a quiet zone actually quiet if a neighboring yard uses leaf-blowers.