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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 15/06/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) No interference if workers drink coke and use caps to make phone call.

the dubai municipality will warn tens of thousands of labourers in dubai against consuming drinks with caffeine sugar and soda — the basic ingredients of fizzy drinks — during its three-month safe summer drive launched on thursday.

labourers at a construction site . — kt photo by m. sajjad

however the civic body will not interfere if the workers choose to drink coca-cola and use its bottle caps for making free calls to their homes in coke’s hello happiness campaign that is set to make a bigger comeback after the recent trial run in the emirate.

“yes. we are advising workers on what they should and shouldn’t consume during summer when those working outside are more prone to dehydration and heat stress” said raed ali al marzouqi head of occupational health and safety section at the municipality’s public health and department.

among the good practices to prevent heat stress the municipality is asking labourers working outdoors to avoid oily and fatty foods alcohol sodas drinks that contain much caffeine and sugar. the guidelines also advise them to maintain hydration by drinking water frequently and by using electrolyte replacement drinks for quick hydration.

“these are guidelines that we want employers and employees to adhere to in order to avoid heat stress. but if the workers prefer to consume foods and drinks of their choice we cannot interfere. they may drink colas after work. it’s not something we can stop” marzouqi told khaleej times.

fact box

> duration of a free call through hello happiness phone booths — 3 minutes

> call minutes logged during the trial phase — 134484 minutes

> no of calls made during the trial phase — 44828 calls

> no of coca-cola 500ml bottles’ caps used for calls — 44828 bottles’ caps

> total calories in a 500ml coca-cola bottle — 210kcal

> sugars in a 500ml coke bottle — 53gram or 59% of gda

> caffeine in a 500ml coke bottle — 48mg

he was responding to questions related to a recent report by kt which said the happiness phone booths from coca cola would be back here after the one-month pilot phase that ended in april. these tailor-made phone booths kept near the labour accommodations in five areas in dubai allowed south asian workers to call home by using coke bottle caps as currency.

a spokesperson from the world’s largest beverage maker who earlier confirmed that more booths will come up in specific locations said the caps used in the pilot phase were the ones of the coca-cola products in 500ml pet bottles.

the month-long drive which kept the phone lines open from 10 am to 10pm to offer a 3-minute call per cap reportedly logged 134484 minutes of calls. that means as many as 44828 calls were made using as many number of coke 500ml bottle caps.

a bottle of 500ml coca-cola which costs between dh2 and 2.50 contains 53grams of sugar which is 59 per cent of an adult’s gda (guideline daily amount) according to the company’s own website. it also contains 48mg of caffeine.

the bottle contains 210kcal which would typically take about 35minutes of cycling to burn as per the company’s latest online ad.

hello happiness phone booths provided three minutes of talk time per cap. — a youtube grab of the ad

the youtube video through which the hello happiness campaign came to light on may 7 and has been viewed over 2.17million times so far shows workers lining up to make the free calls with the “cap currency.” however one would not know exactly if these almost 45000 bottles of coke were consumed by the labourers who made the calls.

according to the spokesperson who expects the call log to go up in the follow up campaign the company did not provide free colas or caps for the workers. “the product was widely available in the activation areas” he said.

when asked about the health impact of the cola on the workers he defended coke saying: “all of our beverages hydrate. no exceptions. and that’s because each one of our sparkling beverages — whether with or without calories are between 85 per cent and 99% water. this is very important in hot weathers as we all know.”

“sparkling beverages do provide hydration and our sugar-sweetened sparkling beverages also provide energy (calories). all of our beverages can be a part of an active healthy lifestyle. but when it comes to weight management and balance all calories count no matter where they come from including those from our caloric beverages” he said.

“put simply calorie balance refers to the concept of balancing the calories you consume with the calories you expend. if we think of this i am sure we appreciate in this case that workers who spend a lot of energy at work and are highly active would not face the problem of imbalance between calories ‘in’ and calories ‘out’” justified the spokesperson.



Khaleej Times

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