Along with industrialization and rapid urbanization, environmental remediation is globally a perpetual concept to deliver a sustainable environment. Various organic and inorganic wastes from industries and domestic homes are released into water systems. These wastes carry contaminants with detrimental effects on the environment. Consequently, there is an urgent need for an appropriate wastewater treatment technology for the effective decontamination of our water systems. One promising approach is employing nanoparticles of metal oxides as photocatalysts for the degradation of these water pollutants. Transition metal oxides and their composites exhibit excellent photocatalytic activities and along show favorable characteristics like non-toxicity and stability that also make them useful in a wide range of applications. This study discusses some characteristics of metal oxides and briefly outlined their various applications. It focuses on the metal oxides TiO2, ZnO, WO3, CuO, and Cu2O, which are the most common and recognized to be cost-effective, stable, efficient, and most of all, environmentally friendly for a sustainable approach for environmental remediation. Meanwhile, this study highlights the photocatalytic activities of these metal oxides, recent developments, challenges, and modifications made on these metal oxides to overcome their limitations and maximize their performance in the photodegradation of pollutants.