OREANDA-NEWS.   Hebei has allocated more than 6.5 billion yuan (USD 1.07 billion) to improve the quality of life of rural residents, the province’s finance department said on Nov 28.

The allocation has been distributed among 15 major programs, including providing safe drinking water, building more roads in counties, and cleaning up garbage. The programs cover more than 3,000 villages in the province.

“The province will put in more funds to upgrade the natural and living environment next year, which is a priority in our to-do list,” said Niu Jinlu, deputy director of Hebei’s finance bureau, on Thursday.

“We will apply for more funds from the central government to make sure rural residents enjoy economic growth.”

To protect the environment in rural areas, Hebei has injected 2.15 billion yuan into cleaning up garbage and other waste. Of the major 3,029 villages, more than 4,200 high-polluting companies, including iron and steel makers and cement producers, have been shut down. Another 15,800 companies have been required to install environment-friendly facilities to reduce pollution.