China's capital city, notorious for having some of the worst air quality in the world, has witnessed a record improvement in air quality during 2017, according to Reuters.
Reuters calculates that air quality has improved by nearly 20 percent this year alone in Beijing, and both Chinese and international environmental consultants are saying the improvement is due mostly to the increasingly tough environmental measures of the Chinese government.
Pollutants have dropped by 35 percent since 2012, and around half of the total improvement in five years occurred during this past year.
China's rapid environmental improvement, while several other countries such as India, Bangladesh and Thailand worsen, mean that finishing up the year, China is no longer among the top ten most polluted countries, according to Reuters calculations.
"At the national level, India tops the index rankings, followed by Bangladesh and Thailand," said Richard Hewston, global head of environment and climate change at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, which measures 198 countries for air quality.
The Communist Party of China under Xi Jinping has increasingly enforced stringent environmental regulations in an attempt to clean up the rapidly growing country's health-endangering air. Measures include a recently introduced pollution-credit trading system, a boost in green infrastructure and technology investment, and beginning a transition away from coal.
The government has also increasingly brought the full force of the law against business and state officials who fail to comply with new measures, arresting or threatening to prosecute thousands for environmental violations in recent years.