Research OverviewOn one hand, the identified primary sources of microplastic emission to the environment mainly include plastic pellets from industry, microfibers from clothing, microbeads from personal care products (PCPs) and paint, as well as MPs from washing wastewater, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), rubber road, artificial turf, and tire wear (An et al. 2020). For example, PCPs (e.g., makeup cosmetics, cleansing products) contain abundant microbeads (Nizzetto et al. 2016). Based on the microplastic contents in PCPs and their consumption levels, the global emission of PCP-derived MPs could reach 1.2×104 t/year (Sun et al. 2020). Generally, most PCP-derived MPs enter municipal sewage networks, along with runoff and other kinds of wastewater from domestic and industrial activities, all of which contain many kinds of MPs (Birch et al. 2020b). At present, conventional WWTPs are unable to completely remove MPs (Sun et al. 2019). Thus, emissions from WWTPs are considered as one of the main sources of MPs to the environment because plenty of effluent is directly discharged into surface water every year (Conley et al. 2019; Edo et al. 2020). In addition, activated sludge that accumulates most of the removed MPs (69%–80%) can be also an emission source if improperly managed (Li et al. 2018).On the other hand, secondary sources of microplastic emissions are larger plastic products that are not properly disposed. Such sources mainly include farming film, fishing waste, and municipal debris from plastic bags, bottles, tableware, and packing products (Ng et al. 2018; An et al. 2020). Currently, secondary sources are estimated to emit the majority of MPs to the environment even though breaking large plastic waste into MPs under natural conditions takes years (An et al. 2020). For example, microplastic films and foams could be mainly sourced from the erosion of plastic bags and packing products that are essential items in humans’ daily lives (Zhou et al. 2020). Since the 1990s, they have been widely used because of their advantages of low cost, large capacity, light weight, and easy storage. Globally, up to ∼5 trillion plastic bags are consumed every year, and ∼39.7% of the total plastic production is used for packing (UNEP 2016).As microplastic pollution has been reported unceasingly, it is realized that this is an international environment problem that needs to be coped with. Currently, some international or national laws or regulations have been legislated to decrease microplastic emissions. In 2015, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) added plastic waste to the list of environmental issues that are worth constant concern. Many regions and countries have also launched restrictions on the single use of plastic bags and the addition of microbeads in PCPs (Xanthos and Walker 2017). For example, the Australian Capital Territory introduced a ban of single-use plastic bags in 2011, which led to the reduction of about 2,600 t of conventional polyethylene bag consumption by 2018 (Macintosh et al. 2020). A plastic bag ban policy in Scotland also prevented approximately 650 million plastic bags from entering waste streams (Sharma and Chatterjee 2017). The federal administrations of Canada, Australia, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany imposed an all-out ban for the application of microbeads in PCPs (Reed and Perschbacher 2016). More recently, the European Union (EU) has put forward a Europe-wide plastic strategy as a portion of the transition to the circular economy (Pico et al. 2019). Based on this strategy, the consumption of disposable plastics will be significantly decreased and all plastic materials for packing will be recyclable in EU markets by 2030.In addition to regulatory and social measures, remediation technologies have also been investigated to control microplastic pollution. The primary applications of technologies such as sedimentation, coagulation, air flotation, activated sludge, sand filter, membrane separation, and membrane bioreactor for microplastic removal from wastewater have been summarized in several reviews (Bui et al. 2020; Cristaldi et al. 2020; Zhang and Chen 2020). The existing knowledge of MPs removal in drinking water through traditional treatment processes, electrocoagulation, magnetic extraction, and membrane separation has also been discussed (Krause et al. 2020; Shen et al. 2020). 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