Buildings are seen through smog behind an unfinished bridge near the Yujiapu financial centre, in Tianjin, China February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee(reuters_tickers)
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's audit office found that 17.6 billion yuan (2.04 billion pounds) earmarked for water pollution prevention work in 2016 was not effectively used, Xinhua reported Sunday.
The funds were meant to go towards 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.
In December, the audit office said more than 3,000 people had been punished and 160 billion yuan in funds "rectified" during an audit of the 2015 budget. In August, China's top economic planner said it would audit 1.8 trillion yuan in special construction funds.
(Reporting by Elias Glenn; Editing by Stephen Powell)