Letter to the editor 2, April 22, 2021
Another form of pollution
Dear Editor and Hudson residents,
I believe it is time to initiate a discussion on local pollution. I am not referring to what most of us think of as pollution. This is not about air or water quality but about noise pollution. It is wrong to think that noise does not have an impact on our lives like bad water or contaminants in the air do. Noise pollution is no different as it directly impacts our quality of life. Being able to enjoy a breakfast listening to the birds or having a video conference without excessive external noises, are all part of a good quality of life. Living in an environment without excessive noise should be normal in a town like Hudson. This is not downtown Montréal.
Sources of excessive noise are multiple – some can be controlled, others cannot. Sirens of fire trucks or emergency vehicles cannot be controlled. These are necessary for the safety and security of all residents. Other city noises such as those caused by vehicles pulling trailers and traveling on poorly maintained roads cannot be controlled. But a simple solution to the problem is resurfacing the roads to allow for a softer ride.
Because we live inside during the winter months, we are less sensitive to outdoor noises. But come spring, summer and fall, we are outside and exposed to a large quantity of man-made noises – including garden tools. (For full disclosure, I own and use a gas lawnmower. But it will be replaced this summer by an electric cordless one for less noise impact.)
In the family of garden tools, the biggest culprit is surely the leaf blower. Not to be technical, but these machines produce 95 to 115 decibels. A rock concert will be between 100 to 120 decibels. Leaf blower operators are required to wear earmuffs or ear plugs. But what about the people nearby? Leaf blowers have the important purpose of ‘pushing leaves’ around and are extensively used by individuals at any time of the day, any day of the week. If they were used only to push leaves around it would not be half bad, but they are also used to blow dirt off driveways and pathways, blow branches away or help ignite fires to burn debris, etc.
I do not like the idea of seeking regulations to tell landowners what they can and cannot do, but I believe it is time for the Town of Hudson to start thinking about regulating the usage of leaf blowers. Several towns in the Montreal area have adopted such regulations. Some have even banned their usage. Hudson should think of moving forward with by-laws that improve people’s quality of life regarding noise pollution.
At the end of the day, a rake and a broom will do the same work (quietly) and will be a good outdoor activity.
Jean des Rivières