AUGUSTA — Thousands of volunteers will clear trash and debris away from Maine’s beaches and waterways in one of the state’s largest volunteer conservation events.

The Maine Coastal Program says Coastweek 2012 kicked off Saturday and continues through Sept. 22. The Maine efforts run in tandem with the International Coastal Cleanup sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy.

Last year, more than 2,300 Maine volunteers cleared 109 miles of beaches and coastal waterways of an estimated 19,082 pounds of trash, for an average of 175 pounds of trash per mile.

The International Coastal Cleanup had nearly 600,000 volunteers who picked up more than 9 million pounds of trash along 20,000 miles of coastline worldwide.

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