Municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are known to be important point sources of microplastic pollution in the environment because they discharge large volumes of microplastic-containing effluents into nearby rivers. However, the fate of these microplastics once they enter the urban rivers is not well understood. The present study focused on the Qing River, a typical urban river in Beijing that receives effluents from four nearby WWTPs. We investigated the microplastic pollution profile both at the effluent outfalls from the WWTPs and in the river. Using micro Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, we identified and confirmed a total of 18 polymers from the river and effluent outfalls. The microplastics were then separated into four categories based on their shapes with the fragment group being the most abundant, followed by the fiber, film, and pellet groups. Abundance of microplastics was found to be slightly higher in the main body of the Qing River when sampled in November than in July. However, abundance levels from the effluent outfalls were similar in November and in July. Significant amounts of microplastics in the Qing river, up to 80%, were retained upstream of dams that are used for water storage. This result was also confirmed by a decrease in the polymer-diversity index downstream of the dams compared to upstream. A preliminary conclusion could be drawn that the microplastics in the Qing River are mainly released from the WWTPs and that most of these microplastics are retained in the river by dams. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.