Every Wednesday morning come rain come shine, a dull, continuous droning sound, sometimes roaring to a crescendo is slowly moving along the pavements outside Rosewood House and Pippin Court opposite my house. Glancing out of my window, I observe a workman pointing a device at the pavement that resembles a blunderbuss which blows air instead of pellets. In the autumn dead leaves are dancing in its air flow, blowing them into a corner where they can be picked up and bagged, or simply into the gutter.
Apparently, this labour-saving device replaces sweeping with a broom. At first his seemed to make a certain amount of sense to me, albeit at a high price re peace and quiet! But the leaf-blowing didn’t stop after all the leaves had gone – even on wet wintry Wednesday mornings the pavements were blow-dried methodically! And the same noisy Wednesday morning routine continued throughout the spring, sometimes creating minor dust devils.
I thought – o.k. this is technological progress saving on elbow grease and one mustn’t grumble about a bit of extra noise in our noisy city. But then I did some research into the environmental impact of these leaf blowers, and they have cropped all-around London in recent years. What I found rather surprised and dismayed me: