China audit finds more than $2.5 billion used to fight water pollution misused

River in Luoyang, Henan province December 13, 2011. REUTERS/China Daily

SHANGHAI — China's audit office found that 17.6 billion yuan ($2.56 billion) earmarked for water pollution prevention work in 2016 was not effectively used, Xinhua reported Sunday.

The funds were meant to go toward 397 projects in 18 provinces, with some regions seeing serious failings in enforcing environmental protection laws, said the report.

China's National Audit Office has told 31 provinces to check use of funds to treat water pollution, Xinhua said.