There are several ways of removing particulate matter; the most widelyused of which is the electrostatic precipitator, which can remove over 99 per cent particulate matter present in the exhaust from a thermal power plant. It has electrode wires that are maintained at several thousand volts, which produce a corona that releases electrons. These electrons attach to dust particles giving them a net negative charge. The collecting plates are grounded and attract the charged dust particles.
The velocity of air between the plates must be low enough to allow the dust to fall. A scrubber can remove gases like sulphurdioxide. In a scrubber, the exhaust is passed through a spray of water or
lime. Recently we have realised the dangers of particulate matter that are very small and are not removed by these precipitators. According to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), particulate size 2.5 micro metersor less in diameter (PM 2.5) are responsible for causing the greatest harm to human health. These fine particulates can be inhaled deep into the lungs and can cause breathing and respiratory symptoms, irritation,inflammations and damage to the lungs and premature deaths.