People are hooked on the secret discoveries being made beneath the waters.

Japanese TV can be a little bit weird by Western standards. Japanese TV shows are so different, in fact, that some foreigners seem to hate them. But although some shows might seem stupid or pointless, like the ones simply featuring celebrities eating at various restaurants around town, many of these productions actually do good things for the community, like providing publicity for small-town, locally-owned restaurants.

One show that set out to do good from the very beginning is called Ike no Mizu wo Zenbu Nuku Daisakusen, or “The Great Plan to Drain All the Water from Ponds.” The basis of the show is pretty much as the title describes it, but there’s an actual purpose to doing so (not just to see if they can do it, although that might be entertaining in its own way). The goal is to clean litter from the ponds and, most importantly, remove damaging invasive species from their non-native habitats.

▼ This pond in Takiouji Shrine in Shinagawa, featured in the first episode, was overpopulated by invasive Chinese soft-shelled turtles.

For centuries, Japan has had a problem with invasive species, which were brought by foreign visitors on boats, both intentionally and unintentionally, but the country saw a lot of new species arriving after American occupation, when a number of foreign animals, such as raccoons and turtles, were being imported for pets. According to media reports, when these pets were later released into the wild, because their owners no longer wanted them or they escaped, they started causing problems in the local environments, such as destroying and depleting native wildlife and plant-life, as well as compromising human safety.

▼ Red-eared slider turtles are a common invasive species in Japan.

Ike no Mizu wo Zenbu Nuku Daisakusen sought to help with this problem by draining local lakes and ponds in order to catch invasive fish, turtles, snakes and other aquatic creatures more easily. Since their first episode aired in January, they’ve gained a lot of attention for their work, including a personal request for help from the mayor of Narushino City in Chiba, and even mentions by the National Institute for Environmental Studies. And that’s not to mention the exploding popularity of the show, in spite of airing only five episodes.

The most exciting praise the TV show has received, however, is from the Japanese Minister for the Environment, Masahiro Nakagawa. He applauded the work of the show, saying, “As the Minister for the Environment, I’m really grateful [to the show] for tackling the problem of invasive species in our country.”

▼ The minister met with the staff of the show during filming last month to express his thanks.

He will even be making a guest appearance on the next installment of the show, which will air a three-hour New Year’s special on January 2, and which will also feature representatives from the Ministry for the Environment and its Parliamentary Office.

▼ The trailer for the three-hour special

Television is not the only eco-champion of Japan; the country has long been known as one of the cleanest and most environmentally conscious  in the world, and even adult film stars advocate for living an eco-friendly lifestyle. That’s probably why recycling in Japan is so complicated, but at least they’re doing everything they can for a healthy ecosystem.

Source: livedoor News via Hachimakiko
Featured Image: Twitter/@livedoornews