Poetry in motion to cut city centre pollution

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THE POWER of poetry is set to provide a breath of fresh air to Sheffield city-dwellers.

Renowned writer Simon Armitage has scored a world-first in unveiling his latest work In Praise of Air, printed on revolutionary pollution-eating material invented by academics in the city.

The University of Sheffield enlisted the help of professor of poetry Mr Armitage after scientists discovered the formula for purifying surroundings, using sunlight and oxygen to react with nitrogen oxide pollutants.

Verses have been printed on a giant banner made of the material, capable of absorbing the pollution of up to 20 cars every day. It will hang on the side of the university’s Alfred Denny Building for the next year. Mr Armitage said: “There’s a legacy of poems in public places in Sheffield and on behalf of the university

“I wanted to be part of that dialogue, to show what we could do. I wanted to write a poem that was approachable, that might catch the attention of the passer-by and one that had some local relevance too.”

Professor Tony Ryan, who came up with the idea of using treated materials to cleanse the air, said: “This is a fun collaboration to highlight a very serious issue of poor air quality in our towns and cities.

“The science behind this delivers a real environmental benefit that could actually help cut disease and save lives.”