Editorial: Silvis leaf referendum -- Voters can clear the air


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Originally Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2012, 2:54 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 31, 2012, 10:48 am
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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus

On some fall days, Silvis is a cloud of smoke amid clear Quad-Cities skies. Neighboring communities in both states have banned the odious practice of burning yard debris, in exchange for environmentally friendly methods of disposing of fallen leaves and the remains of backyard flower beds and gardens.
On Tuesday, voters in that city will get a chance to weigh in on the issue in answering the straightforward question: "Do you support banning outside burning within the city of Silvis, except controlled recreational fires."
Though some aldermen object to even asking the question, we agree with Ald. Caryn Unsicker, 4th Ward, who said every year she fields questions from "umpteen" people regarding leaf burning. "We thought that, once and for all, we would let the voters decide," she said. She's right.
The question comes in a year in which drought conditions already have drastically reduced the number of burn days for residents. We hope that the experience of this season will help voters to decide in the affirmative regarding this issue.
Yes, burn bans make it harder to get rid of yard waste. And it can be more costly, which is why cities should do everything they can to create programs that help the cash-strapped use other methods of leaf disposal.
But the benefits to the overall public health far outweigh the inconvenience. In recommending voters say yes, we also urge Silvis residents to remember, when leaves are burning, it isn't just their air space being violated.

















 




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