“In Praise of Air” by Simon Armitage and Tony Ryan

“A scientist and an award winning poet, both at the University of Sheffield, have made a giant poster that uses nanotechnology to gobble up pollution. It can absorb the poisonous compounds from around 20 cars each day if you put it by a busy road. Prof Tony Ryan (the science expert) and Prof Simon Armitage (the words expert) came up with the idea to highlight one possible way to cut disease and save lives by taking poisonous compounds from the air in our towns and cities. First the science bit: The 10m by 20m poster is coated with microscopic, pollution-eating nanoparticles of titanium dioxide. It’s the same stuff they use for self-cleaning windows, apparently. (…) It doesn’t get rid of all the nasties from traffic, but it will eat up things called nitrogen oxides, which you can’t see or feel but which have been linked to breathing problems including asthma.

But it’s not free of course. Professor Ryan comments: “If every banner, flag or advertising poster in the country did this, we’d have much better air quality. “It would add less than £100 to the cost of a poster and would turn advertisements into catalysts in more ways than one.” (…)

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(via BBC)