Lawn mowing may seem to have little to do with air pollution. However, according to the American Chemical Society Journal, mowing your lawn for one hour is equivalent to taking a car trip over 100 miles. Lawn equipment including lawn mowers, chain saws, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers pose a significant threat to the atmosphere.
Fuel spills- The key reason for lawn mower pollution
Careless and improper refueling is often cited as one main reason for lawn mowers contributing to increased lawn mower pollution. The issue involves more than just lawn mower pollution. Over 17 million gallons of fuel are being spilled every year during refueling of garden and lawn equipment including lawn mowers, chain saws, garden tractors, trimmers, shredders, chippers, tillers, wood splitters and leaf blowers. The spilled fuel can cause severe ozone issues during summer as it evaporates.
One way to prevent the spill is by using spill proof fuel cans. Metal storage cans, with spill proof nozzles help in preventing unnecessary spills. Careful usage and handling of gasoline also helps.
Ways to prevent environmental pollution
To avoid lawn mower pollution to the environment, you can consider the following maintenance tips:
- For maximum equipment efficiency, perform the regular maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Change motor oil regularly and replace or clean the air filters, and conduct periodic checkups of your equipment.
- Ensure the blades are sharp and in good condition, so the motor is not running for longer periods
- For better efficiency and reduced resistance, the deck of your lawn mower should be cleaned underneath.
- Check the type of engine your lawn mower has. Oil and fuel mix should be in the right ratio in two-stroke engines. A majority of lawn tools come with two-stroke engines, which are more powerful than the four-stroke car engines. When you use an incorrect ration of oil and fuel, the engine efficiency is reduced and pollution is increased. A four-stroke engine is more efficient, causes less pollution, and hence gives the best value for your money. So consider choosing the four-stroke variety.
- Replace old lawn equipment with the newer electric powered models. Although the expense is high initially, when compared to the gas-powered equipment, the fuel costs you save in the long-term makes the electric models less expensive.
- Manual tools including rakes, brooms, pruning shears and push mowers should be considered as they eliminate pollution and additionally you get to do some well-needed physical activity.
Using garden and lawn equipment during midday, when the heat and sunlight are stronger, leads to ozone formation at ground level, which is a main part of smog. To avoid further harm to the environment, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has set emission rules, which are aimed at over 59 percent less hydrocarbon emissions. Hydrocarbons emitted from the engine exhaust are cited as the main cause for ozone formation, especially during summer when there is more sunlight.
The ozone formation leads to exacerbation of asthma, lung problems and other respiratory illnesses in people. One way to reduce this is by using the lawn equipment during late afternoon or early in the morning. Alternatively, it should be avoided completely during high ozone days, according to the EPA.