The University of Sheffield has been working on the issue for more than a decade, and is using a poem by English poet Simon Armitage to show off its work. Armitage wrote a poem called "In Praise of Air" that was then printed on 33-foot by 66-foot piece of material coated with titanium dioxide and hung on a wall at the university. The University says that every day the material can absorb the pollution created by 20 cars. It's not as sexy as a previous effort by the university, which was a sleeveless dress called "Herself" that was covered in "pollutant-absorbing concrete," but it won't be nearly as awkward when you stop and stare at the poem.
You can read Armitage's poem and watch a timelapse video of the poem's installation below.
In Praise of Air by Simon Armitage
I write in praise of air. I was six or five
when a conjurer opened my knotted fist
and I held in my palm the whole of the sky.
I've carried it with me ever since.
Let air be a major god, its being
and touch, its breast-milk always tilted
to the lips. Both dragonfly and Boeing
dangle in its see-through nothingness...
Among the jumbled bric-a-brac I keep
a padlocked treasure-chest of empty space,
and on days when thoughts are fuddled with smog
or civilization crosses the street
with a white handkerchief over its mouth
and cars blow kisses to our lips from theirs
I turn the key, throw back the lid, breathe deep.
My first word, everyone's first word, was air.