Most environmental poems suck. “In Praise of Air” is no exception -- it sucks nitrogen oxide!
The poem is on display at the U.K.’s University of Sheffield (it was written by Simon Armitage, one of the school’s poetry professors). Researchers at the university devised an air-cleaning formula used in the material the poem’s printed on, which will eliminate the equivalent of 20 cars’ NOx pollution every day. (Nitrogen oxide speeds global warming and acid rain.)
Here’s how it works:
The 10m x 20m (33x66 feet) piece of material the poem is printed on is coated with microscopic pollution-eating particles of titanium dioxide, which use sunlight and oxygen to react with nitrogen oxide pollutants and purify the air.
(For nerds, here’s more info. Essentially, natural or artificial light activates the material, and its electrons change NOx into a harmless soluble nitrate that can be washed away.)
The poem is posted on the side of the university’s animal and plant sciences building, where it’ll stay for a year. Here it is -- you be the judge of its suckitude: