Microplastic pollution is a global enviromental issues. This is the first time in recent decades that quantitative and qualitative evidence from bibliometrics and Altmetric has been used to conduct an in-depth statistical analysis of global microplastics research knowledge and demonstrate research progress, trends and hotspots. We comprehensively searched the Web of Science Core Collection scientific database from its inception (1986) to September 21, 2019. The study shown that the number of papers on microplastics has increased significantly since 2011. Worldwide, researchers in the field come mostly from Western Europe, mainly spread in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium. With the exception of China, the contribution of developing countries was very limited. Moreover, this study systematically elaborated the hotspots in this field (especially in ecological toxicity and human health risks). The results shown that research on marine systems and marine plankton is still dominant. Since human beings are the ultimate consumers of the food chain, microplastics may have potential effects on the human respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract. Towards that end, some topics and perspectives are noted that could indicate the current scientific hotspots and guide future research directions.