A wide range of plastic items which have existing alternatives, including cutlery, plates, drinks stirrers, balloon sticks and polystyrene fast food containers, will be banned from the EU market to tackle marine pollution.

Members of the European Parliament backed the proposals by 571 to 53 and will now enter into negotiations with the Commission and member states to make it binding legislation.

The EU move to tackle plastic pollution in seas, waterways and the countryside comes after the Environment Department launched a consultation to ban straws, stirrers and cotton buds by October 2020.

MEPs also supported a target to cut use of plastic food containers where there are currently no alternatives by 25% by 2025.

There are also measures to ensure 90% of plastic drinks bottles are collected separately and recycled by 2025, and to cut down on cigarette filters containing plastic.

With fishing gear making up more than a quarter of the waste found on Europe's beaches, the plans will require member states to collect 50% of lost and abandoned gear each year and recycle at least 15% by 2025.

The legislation's rapporteur Frederique Ries said: "We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single use plastics.

"Today's vote paves the way to a forthcoming and ambitious directive. It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030."

There are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the oceans, entangling wildlife, polluting beaches and being eaten by creatures such as sea turtles, with impacts on their nutrition and exposure to chemicals, the European Parliament said.

They can also be eaten by fish which are caught for human consumption, with as yet unknown consequences for people's health.

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, said: "This decision is a victory for the health of the planet.

"Plastic waste is a truly global problem, touching every corner of the planet.

"Shocking images of the scale of the problem and how plastic is flooding our oceans and destroying wildlife has helped push this issue up the political agenda.

"Today's vote is a sign that there is a global race to the top on addressing plasticpollution, and the EU has demonstrated it wants to be one of the front runners."