Flexi Says: The major cause of outdoor air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are burned in power plants, factories, motor vehicles, and home heating systems. Ranching and using chemicals such as fertilizers also cause outdoor air pollution. Erosion of soil in farm fields, mining activities, and construction sites adds dust particles to the air as well. Air pollution may also cause acid rain. This is rain that is more acidic (has a lower pH) than normal rain. Acids form in the atmosphere when nitrogen and sulfur oxides mix with water in the air. Nitrogen and sulfur oxides come mainly from motor vehicle exhaust and coal burning. If acid rain falls into lakes, it lowers the pH of the water and may kill aquatic organisms. If it falls on the ground, it may damage soil and soil organisms. If it falls on plants, it may make them sick or even kill them. Acid rain also damages stone buildings, bridges, and statues.