By Ashraf Naushahi

Crystals of salt are small yet each crystal is so salty that a pinch of it is enough for bringing

taste to any dish. No wonder it is an essential ingredient of foods and meals in almost all parts

of the present day world.

Salt is often neglected as numerous other useful things are neglected because of unawareness

and misconceptions about it, even in the 21st century. Mostly people neglecting salt as some

thing of little or no value, are unaware of its usefulness. Its use is not common in cooking and

food preparation only but there are many other uses in industrial manufacturing.

Different Names of Salt

How useful is salt can be comprehended by its various names. Halite is the name given to salt as

a rock mineral. In chemistry its name is Sodium Chloride. At home, it is talked about as common salt or table salt. Salt is needed in small quantities for maintaining human health.

Ideal Quantity

According to medical recommendations, common salt should be used in a quantity less than 2 grams per day for a proper diet, and it is not good for human health to use salt more than 2 grams per day.

Salt is usually found in its pure forms. It is found in crystal formations of Halite in rocks. It is also found in seawater in large quantities. In one litre of seawater there are about 35 grams of salt. Salinity of seawater is because of large quantity of salt in it.

Table salt in its refined form is almost 99 per cent sodium chloride. Use of iodized salt has also become common recently for better health of the people having a deficiency of iodine in their diets. Usually it is used as a food preservative and added to processed foods as canned-foods, or pickled foods. For human health the most important function of salt is that of an electrolyte. As an electrolyte it is needed for nerves and muscles functioning properly. It is also needed for keeping the fluid-balance in humans.

There are three main sources of getting salt for various human and industrial uses: seawater, halite-rocks, and salty springs of water. Presently world's largest quantities of salt come from various parts of Asia.

Khewara Mines

Khewara is the world's second largest mine of salt. It was a source of salt since the ancient times, then, for industrial purposes its main tunnel was developed by a mining engineer in 1827. The mine is situated in a part of Salt Range mountains which were formed 800 million years ago and cover an area more than 180 miles. Usually its production of salt is estimated 1200-to-1500 metric tonnes per day.

Salt usage

Humans are using salt for almost 8000 years. Commonly its use is as a food ingredient for taste and preservation of foods. However, after the beginning of modern industrial development, the use of salt increased in various industries, especially in chemical industries. In the present day world, it is used commonly in the industries of processed foods, manufacturing products for soil improvement and agricultural growth, making different chemicals, as well as manufacturing various plastics, papers, cards, soaps, glycerin, synthetic rubber, pottery, medicines, in fire-fighting materials and equipments, for cleaning and shampoos, and for making optical materials.

 Published in Young Nation Magazine on August 5, 2017