London has long suffered from poor air quality, dating back from Medieval times to the Great Smog, and seems to have never recovered. The capital city usually breaks the air pollution limit of each new year just within weeks, but 2018 may be the turning point for the Big Smoke.

Last year it took a month to reach EU’s set limit, and Londoners recently welcomed their very first CityTree. Merely a short walk from Picadilly Circus in Glasshouse Street lies the peculiar bench that can make all the difference.

The going green innovation was brought to the capital by The Crown Estate, supported by the Westminster City Council, and the exclusive CityTree UK supplier Evergen Systems. Crafted with mosses, the CityTree can naturally absorb pollution and fine-matter particulates from the surrounding air. The plant composition provides much-needed shade for the mosses to thrive in the urban setting.

Equipped with watering and hooked up with IoT monitoring, the living structure’s performance can be effectively measured and maintained. The CityTree is smart enough to determine water quality, soil humidity, air temperature, and of course, pollution levels.

Green City Solutions “planted” the revolutionary technology to combat air pollution and heat in London. The novel furniture blends in pollution absorbing filters and environmental trackers in a city bench, which delivers 275 times air cleaning capability than that of a single tree. Over 200 trees rolled into one bench? It’s like sitting on an entire small forest!

Breathe a sigh of relief upon knowing how the CityTree can eliminate ozone gases, dust, nitrogen dioxide, and annually filter up to 265 tons of carbon dioxide. The Germany-based startup has installed more than 20 CityTrees in urban areas across different countries, and counting. Each pollution-absorbing tree shows the prowess and significance of technology in helping solve environmental problems.

[H/T CityTree, Treehugger]