Almost all Chinese provinces missed their yearly growth targets in the first quarter, as the central government ordered them to focus on curbing pollution and reigning in on debt.

Economic growth in 30 of China's 31 provinces and municipalities missed their yearly targets, according to data released by government websites and newspapers.

The northeaster province of Heilongjiang reported the biggest shortfall, with 4.1% growth rate in comparison to the yearly target of 8.5%. The province that relies heavily on manufacturing and coal mining sectors suffered from the shutdown of its inefficient factories, according to local media.

Six provinces missed their goals by more than 3 percentage points, according to Bloomberg.

Most of the provinces also had growth rates lower than the previous quarter. Growth in the Hebei province, which is known for its steel industry, declined to 4.2% in the first quarter from 8.2% in the previous quarter.

Coal-rich Inner Mongolia reported first-quarter growth rate of 7.3%, down from 9.9% a year earlier.

Chongqing's growth rate declined to 10.9% in the first quarter from 12.5% a year earlier, while Guizhou's rate slowed to 10.8% from 12.6%.

On an average, provincial real gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed down to 8% in the first quarter, down from 9.5% in the same period last year, according to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analysts.

The national economy grew 7.4% in the first quarter, down from 7.7% in the previous quarter.

The growth slowdown in the provinces is attributed to government measures to control pollution and overcapacity that limited manufacturing in the country. The central government has earlier instructed local governments to focus on pollution and rising local debt levels, rather than pushing up local economy growth rates.

China's growth is expected to decline to 7.3% in the second quarter, according to a Reuters' polls of economists. For the full year 2014, the economy is expected to post a growth rate of 7.3%, the weakest level in 24 years.