BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Finance announced Thursday it would channel 72.1 billion yuan (10.6 billion U.S. dollars) from the central budget to subsidize ecological functional zones this year.
The funds were up by 15 percent from 2017, according to the ministry.
The zones are defined as areas that play a central role in water and soil conservation, wind shielding, as well as the protection of biological diversity.
The increased spending came as pollution control has been listed as one of China's "three tough battles" for the next three years, targeting a significant reduction in the emissions of major pollutants and an improvement in the overall ecological environment.
Last year, China's central authorities issued guidelines on an ecological "red line" strategy that will make certain regions protected. The zones will be clearly defined by the end of 2020.