As many as 8,347 companies in Hebei were ordered to halt their operations, and some 1,225 coal-burning furnaces were dismantled, as the provincial government stepped up efforts to combat environmental pollution, Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday. On average, five to seven cities on the monthly lists of ten most polluted cities in the country this year were from Hebei, according to data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The Hebei government has completed 426 desulphurization, dust-removal and other related projects, as well as the establishment of 20 air pollution monitoring stations. The provincial government is also planning to set aside 570 million yuan (US$93.85 million) to retire 578,000 motor vehicles which no longer meet emission standards, the report said.
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