Yard Work and Air Pollution

With the days getting longer, many homeowners' thoughts turn to the work that waits in their yards. Many people associate air pollution with cars, airplanes, energy-producing facilities, and other large fuel consumers. The small engines used in lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, chain saws, and leaf blowers, however, represent a significant source of air pollutants.

Indeed, most small engines emit high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. In addition to CO, small engines emit ozone-forming hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. Ground-level ozone impairs lung function and contributes to smog formation. According to the Government of Canada, a gasoline-powered lawn mower emits about 48 kilograms of greenhouse gases in one season.

There are ways to help clean the air while maintaining your yard. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Avoid Spills and Overfilling

· Spilling gas and overfilling the tank allow for gas to evaporate

· With evaporation, hydrocarbons are released into the atmosphere

Maintain Equipment

· Change oil and clean or replace air filters regularly

· Use the proper fuel/oil mixture in two-stroke equipment

· Keep blades sharp to improve fuel efficiency

Use Manual Tools

· No fuel required, which means no emissions produced

· An easy way to get exercise and have fun, without any pollution

Reduce Mowing Time

· The less time the mower is running, the less fuel is used

· Decrease lawn area with trees or shrubs or use low-maintenance turf grasses that grow slowly

Recycle old equipment

· Instead of sending old equipment to the landfill, send it to a recycling center

· Many lawn tools can be converted into raw materials for use in other products.

· Turn in your old high-polluting lawn mower at the nearest Home Depot between April 17-27, 2008 in return for an instant rebate of up to $100 on an energy-efficient, low-emission alternative.

· Mowers with newer engines are subject to stricter emissions standards, so they will likely burn cleaner than your old lawn mower.

Happy gardening.


Kreg Weiss is a co-founder of My Yoga Online and certified Hatha Yoga Teacher. Several years ago, Kreg discovered yoga while teaching health and fitness. Yoga dramatically transformed Kreg's approach to teaching health and wellness as well as changed his personal life bringing new direction in finding physical, mental, and spiritual growth.

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