Estimates calculated in 2019 suggest that mass of microplastics in aquatic habitat will surpass that of fish by 2050. This prediction has dramatically changed with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as the use of single-use plastic products have increased since early 2020. This highlights the need for better understanding of the occurrence, fate and effects of microplastics within the context of the overall life cycle of plastic-based waste. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the increase of plastic pollution and the changes in its management, and its consequences for the occurrence of microplastics in various environmental compartments. Additionally, we will present a comprehensive analytical monitoring strategy for characterizing the life cycle of plastics, from the macro- to the micro- sizes.